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The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

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The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Clifford Gallery: Exhibiting Artistic Perspective

Clifford Gallery: Exhibiting Artistic Perspective
Colgate University Clifford Art Gallery / Joshua Repp

The art that takes place inside the Colgate University Clifford Art Gallery is a collaborative effort. Clifford Gallery, located in Little Hall, features exhibitions that are selected by the University art faculty, and invites artists of all kinds to present their work and create new art. In addition, artists-in-residence at the Clifford Gallery work with Colgate art students to develop a performance or presentation.

The most recent exhibition that the Clifford Gallery has displayed is “Architects of the Future,” produced by artist Chitra Ganesh. The exhibition features a wall-sized mural produced with paint and fabric, painted in person by Ganesh. The mural accompanies other comics and printed images and that remained open for viewing from Sept. 13 to Nov. 12.

“Chitra Ganesh’s drawing-based installations, relief prints, comics and animations explore the potentialities of experimental storytelling,” the Clifford Gallery website states. “Her visual iconography draws from conventions of science fiction, comic books, fairy tales and mythologies of the South Asian subcontinent.”

The displays hosted by the gallery are enjoyed by students, faculty and the broader community. Many appreciate the variety and variability of art present at the Clifford Gallery.

Junior Ellen Mannschreck spoke on visiting the gallery and explained what it has to offer.

“The Clifford Gallery is the place to go if you want to see really unique pieces, and it’s always cool to stop by if you’re in Little Hall,” Mannschreck said. 

By bringing together a diverse array of mediums, the exhibit represents the many ways that artists at Clifford Gallery choose to develop the final presentation of their work alongside students.

Clifford Gallery Director Margaretha Haughwout explained the process of the artist in residence and what goes into creating the concept for the artwork. 

“Two out of three years, we have an artist-in-residence who comes and does a longer-term project with us, and it’s usually [for] either a semester or a year,” Haughwout said. “They develop a work that’s in conversation with the students in some way.”

The current artist at Clifford is Jackie Sumell, a multidisciplinary artist who creates art to challenge many aspects of the criminal justice system.

“[Sumell is] working really closely with this group of student artists to build that project; they meet every week and they’re developing ideas,” Haughwout said. “It’s always different how an artist comes in and works — sometimes we’ll just do workshops, sometimes we’ll do something specific within a class. It’s always sort of driven by how the artists think they can get the best work and the best kind of conversation going.”

Often, exhibits expand out of the gallery into performances or workshops that happen around Colgate’s campus.

“There’s new kinds of relationships that can form through engaging with our arts programming,” Haughwout said. “When you engage with art, you have new ways of seeing the world. It creates new perspectives on old problems.”

While Clifford Gallery is a particularly helpful resource for art students who can gain professional skills from working with artists, the gallery also fulfills a larger need for all students. Because the gallery’s art often works with issues, including some specific to Colgate, it provides perspective and thoughtful commentary on all areas of study.

“Contemporary artists are always dealing with contemporary issues. The thing about artists is they’re not necessarily interested in solving problems,” Haughwout said. “Sometimes they are, but they’re always interested in reframing problems and giving us a new take, which can lead to new creative approaches, no matter what our discipline is.”

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About the Contributor
Joshua Repp
Joshua Repp, Assistant Arts & Features Editor
Joshua Repp is a first-year from Toledo, OH with a potential concentration in political science and a potential minor in Chinese. He has previously served as a staff writer for the News, Arts & Features and Baker's Dozen sections. On campus, Joshua is a marketing coordinator for Colgate Portfolio, intern for the division of arts and humanities, and participates in intramural table tennis.

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