By Sydney Hakes
The spring semester has brought with it another round of the Visual Artist Series, an event hosted conjointly by art students and faculty members.
Occuring every semester, it welcomes artists from around the world to speak and interact with the art students.
This semester they were able to secure six artists of varying mediums to give a presentation over zoom. Two talks are left for the semester, Zoey B. Scheler, April 5 and Rebecca Green, April 12.
Drew Goerlitz, a professor and the faculty coordinator for the event, said the series began long before he started at SUNY Plattsburgh, at least 25 years ago.
“The intention is for students to interact with all different types of artists and have a more personal setting to get to learn from them,” Goerlitz said.
Four artists have given talks so far, Eve K. Tremblay, Jamie Bowman, Eunkang Koh and Craig Usher.
Koh, who presented on March 9, is currently a professor at the University of Nevada, and received her B.F.A. from Hong-Ik University in Seoul, Korea and an M.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach. Her work “draws from the human circumstances that flourish between reality and perception.”
She spoke to the students about growing up with Korean folktales and how her perception of the world affects her art.
“ I assume that the world we are living in is not real but is an illusion that we perceive,” Koh said. “ I aim to create my own illusion in my art. My images are my way of seeing the world without pretense.”
Her unique insight and art style provide a learning experience for art students that they may not receive reading a book or simply viewing artwork. This can be said about all the artists in the series.
The series is funded by the Student Association through the Campus Arts Council. Pilar Balader Herrero is the SA coordinator of the arts. She oversees the budget, runs the Instagram account and is the chair of the arts acquisition, among other responsibilities, including helping to run events like the Visual Artist Series.
“Art is in everyone’s lives, so students of all majors can benefit from attending these events,” Balader Herrero said. “To hear about the art directly from the artist opens up a door that a student might not have seen by just looking at the art.”
Like many events in the art world, the Visual Artist Series suffered from COVID-19.
“We’ve only been able to do presentations over zoom the past couple of years,” Goerlitz said. “In the past, the artists would come to campus and spend the days with the students. We’d get pizza and they’d be able to do hands-on work and have more personal conversations with the artists.”
Goerlitz and Baledar Herrero both believe that students are losing opportunities and educational benefits during this pandemic. Attendance to the series hasn’t been as high as it would have been in person. They can only hope to restore these types of events to what they once were.
“I hang up posters and try to advertise it over social media and campus, but there’s only so much we can do,” Balader Herrero said.
They hope to see students within and outside of the art department attend the last two talks in the series this semester. The zoom links for the last two speakers can be found in the student digest emails.