Thirty-third annual exhibition features the very best art incorporating paper as a primary element; reception is Feb. 3, 2 – 4 p.m., Brown Hall
“Prepare yourself,” says senior art student Jina Stuckenschneider, hand poised over the closet door. Stuckenschneider is the Columbia College student who will be mounting Paper in Particular, the college’s signature art show, which annually features the very best in art that incorporates paper as a primary element.
“It’s always a shock,” adds Ben Cameron, the art teacher who conceived of a show all about paper nearly 40 years ago. Cameron is retiring from teaching at the end of this academic year— but not from the show. He will continue as gallery director for two years after retirement. “Ready?”
Stuckenschneider opens the door, and Cameron flicks on the light.
Inside is a mountain of boxes, crates and other containers, some stacked four or five deep. The containers vary in size from gigantic wooden crates five feet high by at least six feet wide to as small as a textbook. The chaos is deceiving, however: everything has been carefully labeled.
These works, about 80 in total, will comprise the college’s 33rd annual Paper in Particular show, on display in the Sidney Larson Gallery in Brown Hall on the main campus of Columbia College. The show’s opening reception is scheduled for Feb. 3 from 2- 4 p.m.
In the past, the show has produced artwork of uncommon beauty and vitriol from mellow landscapes and still lifes to trenchant political commentary and towering sculptures dwarfing the lobby of Brown Hall, all made of paper. Each year, an internationally respected artist wades through hundreds of entries to pick the best; this year, Art Werger, professor of printmaking at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, examined about 300 artworks in total. Werger thrives in the technical complexities of print media, and his work is on display in The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Boston Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Trenton (N.J) Museum.
Every year is different, but art lovers will find established artists side by side with up-and-coming artists. Later, one work will be purchased for Columbia College’s permanent collection and one artist’s work will be selected for a solo exhibition in the gallery this fall.
After graduating from high school, Stuckenschneider, who is originally from Martinsburg, near Mexico, Mo., attended the Advanced Technology Center in Mexico for one year. A good friend, Nikki Blaue, who graduated from Columbia College’s Nursing Program in 2009, strongly recommended the college and Stuckenschneider transferred that year.
Stuckenschneider plans to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree, then go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts and perhaps teach. She says the college’s small class size and personal attention from teachers has helped her find her true passion: ceramics.
“When I first thought about the BFA last semester, I was thinking about majoring in painting,” she says. Then she met Assistant Professor of Art and ceramicist Bo Bedilion.
“Bo is amazing,” she says. “He’s changed the way I think about art … I’m more of a hands-on person, anyway.”
That’s a very good thing, considering the process of uncrating, laying out then finding the sub-themes, colors and combinations that will look good on the art gallery wall will take at least an entire day. “It’s really difficult!” she says. But as she and other art students work, “students come by and we get their opinion … a lot of people get involved, which is good.”
Stuckenschneider will earn three credits for the project. It’s the seventh show she has hung; she helped Cameron with last year’s Paper in Particular show, too.
“Ben’s been great,” she says. “I’ve learned so much. He’s showed me how to unwrap, uncrate, open artwork correctly, then how to put it back when the show was over. I enjoy it.
“If I do my own show in the future I’ll know how to do it.”
When would probably be more accurate than if.