Montgomery College’s 2014 Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Showcase: Maggie Gourlay

Montgomery College’s 2014 Smithsonian Faculty Fellowship Showcase: Maggie Gourlay

[ Music ] The Smithsonian Faculty
Fellowship Program represents a rewarding academic professional
development opportunity for faculty at Montgomery
College. The fellowships are a product
of a unique collaboration between Montgomery College
and the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital access. It’s the first of its kind between the Smithsonian
Institution and a community college. Maggie Gourlay is
an artist and educator. She has taught color
theory and application at Montgomery College
since 2010, and has also taught drawing two
dimensional design and writing about art at Towson University. Exhibition venues
include Auto Rose Gallery, BJ Spoke Gallery, VisArts, Loyola University of Maryland,
Hood College, LSU, MICA, Creative Alliance, School
33, Maryland Arts Place, The
Arlington Art Center, Mclean Project for the
Arts, the Workhouse Art Center,
and PULSE Art Fair New York. Gourlay holds a BS from
Georgetown University, and an MSA in Studio Art
from Towson University. Hello everyone. I teach color theory
and application. It’s a class in which students
study all aspects of color with an emphasis on hands-on
art projects using the color theories that they
learned in class. Thank you. Okay, of all the museums
I had the privilege of visiting during the
Smithsonian MC Faulty Fellowship; the National
Portrait Gallery seemed the most ideal to explore the
theme of the fellowship. Cross cultural exchange from
the old world to the new in the context of identity. Given the ethnic diversity of
my students and the student body as a whole at Montgomery
College, the cross cultural exchange of
peoples and how that relates to identity became the topic
to explore at the museum. When you look at the National
Portrait Gallery you think about what is national
Portraits; its portraits that describe what our
nation is, so what does that actually constitute. So the visit also
raised the question of what exactly constitutes
a portrait. In the “American Origins”
exhibit we saw portraits in traditional 18th century
European painting styles in poses, like this
portrait of Thomas Jefferson. But also there’s an
Iroquois war club like the one the students
are observing here. On the club’s shaft are
en-sized two warrior figures; one drawing back a bow string, and the other brandishing a war
club; possibly self-portraits of the unknown owner
of the club. Okay. Portraits could also be
images that reflect ideas rather than people, such as the
reflections on identity by Latino artists
using port photography, mixed media in the
exhibit “Staging the self- Contemporary Latino
Portraiture.” So in class students are used
to looking at images of artwork and images by artists,
but what’s very different about a museum experience is
that for the first time they’re in the actual presence
of the work of art, so they can see things like
texture, size, and presence that is impossible to
see simply by looking through at a virtual image. next, okay, for example,
this painting by David Antonio Cruz the son of Puerto Rican migrant
parents considers the impact of migration on families
from the perspective of those who left, stayed or went back,
and those who like him are at home between places. Broken plates, Ellis Island
documents gold leaf, enamel. Cruz uses materials to embody
his ideas on migration. Imagery is upside down, topsy-turvy suggesting
dislocation. Okay. This photograph by
Rachelle Mozman focuses on identity and power by
using the image of her mother in the role both of maid,
and mistress of the house. The maid looks back
at us implicating us in this uneven distribution
of power. Students are artist bucking
the prevailing art world trend against portraiture in “Face
Value: Portraiture in the Age of Abstraction 1945 to 1970.” Seeing portraiture
become infused with ideas from modernism and abstract
painting, and embodied in a range of different
materials. Okay. And they all sell
portraits of various sizes and media commemorating notable
figures in forging civil rights in the “Struggle for Justice”
exhibit, such as this painting of George Washington Carver
being observed by Christina . Next, here are students in the
“Struggle for Justice” exhibit. Okay. All right, after
touring these four exhibits at the National Portrait
Gallery, each student picked one artwork
of his or her choice to observe, and to write a short paper and make a class presentation
based on the observations. Prior to going to the museum we
spend some time just learning to observe paintings;
just spending time looking to see what visually
you observed from the painting before
drawing any conclusion or reading anything about it. Okay, so following the paper and presentation there was an
art project (of course the best part of the class) to make– to create a cultural
exchange self-portrait. So this was a project that
would merge the fellowship theme of the Colombian Exchange
and would be enriched by the various approaches
to portraiture displayed at the National Portrait
Gallery. Loosely interpreted, this topic
would draw upon the ethnic heritage or lineage each
student focusing on how he or she has negotiated a
cultural exchange of living in the United States to become
the people that they are now. The students were encouraged
to experiment with color, materials, size and textures
giving form to meaning through their use of materials. So Corey here says quote, “I
incorporated my family heritage, what I like to do, and
what social media I use.” So he used a giant Twitter logo,
brands of clothes he likes, cinnamon sticks, cumin
and cloves for his Indian and Jamaican heritage. This one? Ramiro’s portrait
reveals the mix of cultures in his background from
Great Britain to Jamaica, to the United States in this
mixture of collage and painting; there’s a little picture
of him in there too. Okay, next. In this painting
by Kiang the hole in the middle represents the
hollowness of being absent from his home country Korea. The lettering, colors and
landscape represent Korea. Deon represents the members
of his family as a series of Russian nesting
dolls in paper to recall his Russian heritage. Christina made this doll house to celebrate her Greek
heritage with the blue and white fence representing
the Greek flag. It is a representation of
her ideal house with quote, “All the freaky wallpapers
in colors, the piano included because my grandmother died
last year and gave me the piano, a blackboard in the kitchen
represents my intended major (teaching), the library
dedicated to books because they are that
important to me.” Okay, and last but not
least, Sammy uses red and blue acrylic paint to paint
the colors of the Korean flag. Also the colors of the
American flag- the red white and blue of a Korean-American. The piece itself
represents the sort of in duality in an individual. Our passionate self, and the
self that we present in public. Hey. So in all the
students made self portraits that delve not only into
cross-cultural territory, but also made very personal
and honest artistic statements. [ Applause ] [ Music ]

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