Artistic Impacts: Gallery sparks controversial dialogue throughout LBCC community

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Artwork by Andrew Douglas Campbell displayed upstairs of North Santiam Hall has been the talk of the town — quite literally. Not only have the three-piece series caused a stir throughout the halls of LBCC, they have also been featured in a news piece by Albany’s local newspaper, The Democrat Herald.

The artwork that is now and will be displayed throughout the rest of the fall term was hand-picked by Art Faculty and Mentor Anne Magratten, as well as Gallery Coordinators Sin Melendez and Michael Bosch.

“We chose what we thought would be best in the show,” said Melendez. “We thought they’d have the best impact. They’re extremely powerful, you can’t miss them, [and] we feel it has a lot to send out in forms of many different perspectives in messages.”

“It’s bold on our part and it’s incredibly bold on his part,” said Melendez. “It’s very socially charged and we’ve had a lot of negative reactions to it and we’ve had a lot of positive reactions to it.”

Melendez touches on the fact that although the initial perception of the artwork is substantially fighting societal norms, the medium and artistic skill are completely being overlooked.

“Andrew is displaying content that’s under-represented in the artistic world — in the artistic culture,” said Melendez. “He’s dealing with fabrics and threads and dyes like that which have been very undermined throughout history; it’s seen as women’s work and things like that, so that’s one form that he’s taking bold action to change how we think about art.”

“The way we hear and retell stories about ourselves creates a feedback loop of narrative and identity,” said Campbell in an artist statement entitled Artistic Philosophy that was released with the series. “Much of my work asks where the power resides within this feedback loop. As I digest the world around me, I ask, ‘what do I absorb and what do I let fall away? What elements of the narrative can I champion and what can I subvert? How do I achieve that?’” he said.

Campbell attributes the message he is sending as an “alternative to set structures, or an opportunity to navigate oppositions simultaneously.”

“Making and displacing images is at the core of my production, and is how I respond to what I glean from stories. I identify and engage social/narrative tensions or fissures that beg my attention,” said Campbell. “I pick up the tension or fissure and I live with it for a while. I want to address the tension fissure, but this does not mean repair it, or somehow solve it with idealisms and utopias. Sometimes I just position one fissure tension next to another tension fissure and allow an organic alchemy to occur.”

Gallery Coordinator Michael Bosch believes that the art room and gallery are the perfect places to arouse the controversial conversations so many are afraid of.

“A role that art can play in society is that maybe you have an idea and you don’t think it’s good or you don’t think it’s practical, in some fashion you can explore that idea in art — that’s what art is for,” said Bosch. “Conceptually, I think it’s trying to move forward with people’s way of thinking about love and sex.”

“A greater theme with this show is [sparking questions like], what does it mean to really be a man? What does a man do?” he said. “There’s traditional concepts with what a man is and I think it’s trying to broaden that perspective. It’s really important work to be displayed it seems like that artwork has kind of brought a conversation to an area that needed to have it.”

There is an art comment box located upstairs of the North Santiam building open for all students and faculty to leave their comments and opinions on the series. Campbell’s art will be on view until Nov. 30 and there will be a reception and artist talk on Thursday, Oct. 19, from 4 to 5 p.m. located in NSH Gallery, second floor atrium.

On Monday Oct. 30, There will be a Free Expression, Inclusion and Art Forum from 1-2:30 at the Fireside Room. There will be several speakers and an open dialogue between students, faculty and administration.

Story by Samantha Guy

Photos by Angela Scott