Color on White, the second annual Rasmussen College student artwork showcase
Nov. 30 – Jan. 13 | Opening reception Nov. 30, 7 – 9 p.m.
The Spirit Room
By ARTSpulse contributor Rob Neuteboom
Rasmussen College presents its second annual Color on White student artwork showcase at the Spirit Room Gallery in downtown Fargo on Friday, Nov. 30. The showcase and its title were initially inspired by the blank canvas of the first winter that Alex Fogarty, design instructor and New York transplant, experienced in Fargo.
“Color on White,” Fogarty explained, “is profoundly affected and inspired by the weather. Last year I challenged my students to create artwork that would bring life into an often solitary and inward time, when we lose a lot of the color in our environment to a blanket of white.”
Her students did not disappoint. Their work quickly evolved well beyond a portrayal of the physical landscape of the North Dakota winter. Using their white, snowy surroundings as a blank canvas, they explored a number of disparate topics.
For example, James Ness designed a portrait of an aged soldier, a possible remnant of a decommissioned and disenfranchised Soviet military, Jason Radabaugh rendered a still of two otherworldly lions in turquoise and pink, and Nick Wigtil generated an abstract countryside that appears to be in motion. To Fogarty’s delight, her students exceeded the expectations of her vision — their artwork truly expressed the topography of an internal landscape manifest in carefully crafted and visually appealing designs.
In addition to these 2D digital images which resemble oil paintings, her students also explored 3D art and animation, web design and videos.
This year’s event promises another engaging selection of student designs from “the variety of mediums” with which Fogarty’s students work. Their 2D digital paintings illustrate several different themes and concepts: pop culture icons, such as a version of Batman’s nemesis the Joker; the seasons, represented by cropped images as fleeting and transient as the seasons themselves; and disjointedness of self, depicted by an arm reaching out of the pupil of an eye and the profile of a woman’s head imperfectly pieced together, or slowly coming apart.
The exhibit will also display 3D art, multimedia, and video animation.
Fogarty encourages this level of creative exploration in her design classes because she understands its value in her profession. If she can get her students to take chances and generate new, fresh ideas, they will graduate with an impressive design portfolio and an even more valuable portfolio of experience and creative courage.
Displaying student work publicly is an integral part of this process. As Fogarty quickly learned, however, finding the right location to exhibit student work can be challenging. Last year, Fogarty visited a number of potential venues before discovering the Spirit Room. She was impressed by members’ “openness to collaborate and willingness to feature student work.” Further impressed by the organization’s mission “to enrich people’s lives through the development and practice of creative, contemplative and healing arts,” Fogarty finally found a community space conducive to showcasing her design students’ work. Of the Spirit Room, Fogarty saids, “The welcome we received was heartwarming and says a lot about the Spirit Room and the art community as a whole in the FM area. There is a genuine desire to work together to celebrate who we are and the art we make.”
Fogarty and her students will, in fact, celebrate art and discuss their creative processes at the Spirit Room on Nov. 30 to inaugurate the showcase. In addition to hosting this kickoff event, the Spirit Room has also designated space for the artwork to be exhibited throughout December and part of January.
Young or old, art enthusiast or not, the Rasmussen College Color on White student art showcase promises to be an intriguing journey into the emergent craft of digital design and animation. Fogarty encourages community members to stop by the gallery to check it out, to add a little color to the visual monotony of winter.
Image: Sean Walsh, Pear. Courtesy of The Spirit Room.