The Vermont Cynic

Student prints splash color in Davis Center


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While Vermont’s landscape is still just a monotonous mix of browns this spring, bright colors can be found on the fourth floor of the Davis Center.

Art from the course “Printmaking: Silkscreen” is on display in the Livak Fireplace Lounge until the end of the month.

The exhibit was organized by the Davis Center Art Committee, a group headed by senior Cydney Williams.

The committee is in its fifth year and has organized previous shows such as an alumni exhibit and a show featuring artwork from the UVM Campus Children’s Center.  

Williams not only curated the show, but is also one of the featured artists.

Works from the “Communicating Color” exhibit are on display in the Livak Fireplace Lounge March 19. The pieces were created as part of a silkscreen printmaking class. PHIL CARRUTHERS/The Vermont Cynic

[/media-credit] Works from the “Communicating Color” exhibit are on display in the Livak Fireplace Lounge March 19. The pieces were created as part of a silkscreen printmaking class. PHIL CARRUTHERS/The Vermont Cynic

The class was essentially an intro-level course as many of the students were not familiar with silkscreening, a printmaking technique using mesh to transfer images onto another surface like paper, Williams said.

“None of us have ever silkscreened before, so this was a learning how to silkscreen class,” she said.

The class was taught by art and art history professor Jane Kent as an introduction to silkscreen printmaking.

Kent said the process, which is essentially like working with stencils, has been used historically in industrial and decorative arts and was famously used by Andy Warhol.  

“It takes a while to learn how to do this and to get good results,” she said. “You can’t be half-assed about it. You can’t wing it, you can’t fake it, you can’t get away with anything.”  

The process of silkscreening was not easy for her or her classmates Williams said.

“They’re really hard to do, they take a lot of work,” she said. “It sucks your soul in for like three weeks.”

An important factor in choosing to display this exhibit was the color it brings to the Davis Center.

“We definitely try and bring life around this time of year, especially to the Davis Center,” Williams said. “It’s a space where people study. We want to try and promote the space for people to grow in.”

The communal aspect of the space, however, also presents problems for the committee.  The artwork is mostly unframed and hangs on the walls by way of magnetic strips, which can be easily knocked down, Williams said.

Others using the space also might not realize there is an exhibit on display and accidentally move things or cover the artwork up, she said.

But for Williams and her team, it is important the space stays open both to students and the larger community, she said.

“We don’t want only student artwork there. It’s a community space; it’s a community center; we want to show the diversity of our town,” Williams said.   

Although the space is not regularly used to display student work, Williams said she is proud of the exhibit.

“It’s unreal to have that artwork produced from an intro-level class,” she said. “It was really sophisticated. Our class really rose to the occasion.”

The gallery was an important opportunity for student artists Kent said.

“It’s a complicated endeavor to just make art, to do it and do it really well and to care,” she said.

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Student prints splash color in Davis Center