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Students Create Artwork Inspired by Artist-in-Residence

Artist in residence

Artist-in-Residence Joan Lederman (left) with students (from left) Chase Meacham (C'14), Swedian Lie (C'13), Lena Landegger (C'12), Julia Kwon (C'12) and Taylor Bothwell (C'13).

March 29, 2012 – Half a dozen Georgetown students recently presented works of art at the university inspired by an artist-in-residence who uses mud from the ocean floor.

The resident artist Joan Lederman, has had her exhibit “Where the Sea Floor Melts: Ocean Mud, Ceramic Change and the Connected Mind” open at Georgetown’s Spagnuolo Gallery Jan. 25-April 1.

Lederman originated the use of sea-floor sediment as a modern-day art material. She first used it in 1996, thinking that she could mold it into pottery.

But after she left it on the kiln she discovered the material melted.

Deep-Sea Material

Andrew Stoffel

Student fellow Andrew Stoffel (SFS'12) tests the audio for his installation piece, "The Opportunity Cost of Storytelling."

“That’s when I decided to use it as a glaze,” the Massachusetts artist said.

Six students created work in response to Lederman’s artistic process and unconventional materials. The artist-in-residence advised the students on their projects, met with them in a workshop and interacted with them on a blog called the “Daily Melt.”

Lena Adelita Landegger (C’12), an art and French major from Larchmont, N.Y., used paint, board and paper to create a layered piece that illustrates the process by which mud is extracted from the sea floor.

Our Kind of Pedagogy

“One of the things that I was really influenced by in Joan’s work [was how] she takes these [mud] samples from all over the world and puts them all together as glazes on one piece,” she said. “[I wanted to show] the coring of this deep-sea sediment and the drilling that happens and how everything sort of gets caught in this vortex and brought up to the surface.”

The university’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) commissioned the student art.

“Joan’s work is so integrative and so generative because it really is about her as a learner,” said Randy Bass, CNDLS executive director and assistant provost for teaching and learning initiatives. “To me her work was all about learning … many times she’d have to go out and ask a scientist about [the mud]. That speaks to our kind of pedagogy.”

Five other students received the benefit of Lederman’s mentoring, including Swedian Lie (C’13), Andrew Stoffel (SFS’12), Julia Kwon (C’12), Taylor Bothwell (C’13) and Chase Meacham (C’14).

Mud and Kierkegaard

Lie, a theater and performance major from Indonesia, created a work called “A/B,” and said he was influenced by Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard’s book, Either/Or, which portrays two views of life, one ethical and one hedonistic.

“There’s this dialogue going on between the two pieces, and you’re stuck in the middle,” Lie said of his work. “And you begin to navigate back and forth … between choices in life, between all the uncertainty.”

Using glass, oil paint, clear resin, pure mud and resin mixed with mud, Lie featured text from Kierkegaard’s work using transparent inkjet paper.

“I think [the piece] echoes Joan’s piece about exploration and about finding the beauty in uncertainty,” he said.

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