Newsletter Spring 2015

The First Annual IDSVA Student Exhibition, January 2015, NYC

By Rowynn Dumont, Cohort 13

As former Chair of the Board for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, I have been asked to write something about this very special moment during our January 2015 Residency. The idea for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition came about in a most impossible way. The previous year, Wilson Hurst and I were looking at some prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Viewing these breathtaking images inspired us to consider the subject of creating our own book of student works. I casually brought up the idea with George Smith, and out of the blue he said, “What a great idea! Why don’t we have a show to go along with the book?” I replied that I thought this was a wonderful idea and suddenly I found myself appointed to the position of Chair of the Board for the 1st Annual Student Exhibition at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. 

I was lucky enough to have a strong committee, Wilson Hurst, Jeanne Moore and Taliesin Thomas, without their commitment to this exhibition, it would have never taken place. Jeanne Moore wrote a beautifully illustrated description of the idea of the artist-philosopher in the exhibition catalogue. I will quote it here, as she has expressed the sentiments behind the exhibition perfectly:

The idea of the artist philosopher is not unusual, but rather, has existed throughout the history of art. Artist such as Edward Manet, Andre Breton, Joseph Kosuth and many others created works that raised critical questions about aesthetics, morality, social justice, and the role of art in the greater society. Their inter-textual approach to art making allowed them to give visual form to ideas that might otherwise not find representation. They used art to answer philosophical questions.

The Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA) is a unique program centered on engagement between the arts and philosophical discourse. IDSVA’s art, aesthetics and critical theory program provides an opportunity for creative professionals to connect their work to the greater question of what it means to be human, to create a dialog between disciplines and engage in critical thinking in consort with their creative practice.

In this exhibition, artists come from varied visual arts disciplines including fine art, performance, curating, art criticism, art history, education and other creative arenas. These creative professionals connect their work to the greater question of what it means to be human, to create a dialog between disciplines and engage in critical thinking in consort with their creative practice. Art provides provisional liberation from the pressures of willing. Without exercising too much imagination, the gallery extends to the entirety of existence. The world is not something to observe through a plate-glass window, but rather something immersive.

We are artists, we are theorists, we are creative thinkers who believe in the power of art to change society. This exhibition showcases our work as it speaks to the many questions we encounter in our academic program, questions we confront in our daily lives and our struggles to understand the mysteries of our existence.

It was my honor to have been a part of history in the making and to have overseen the First Annual Student Exhibition. I am excited to see what is in store for future IDSVA Exhibitions as it is now my turn to pass on the mantel to the next Cohort.

For more information on the January 2015 1st Annual IDSVA Student Exhibition please visit http://www.idsva.org/student-exhibit/.