The William Benton Museum of Art held an opening reception for their three current exhibitions featuring “Prints and People Before Photography,” “Encounters with the Collection: Celebrating Art by Women Part II” and the work of the faculty on Thursday, Sept. 7.
The reception was held in the Benton’s gallery. It allowed attendees to explore all the exhibits and discuss the art with professors and students alike.
The 2023 Studio Art Faculty exhibition features 20 artists from University of Connecticut’s Art Department. Two artists, Janet Pritchard and John O’Donnell, are returning from sabbatical this year. These two professors will also be speaking about their artwork at the Benton later in the semester, with O’Donnell speaking on Sept. 29 and Pritchard on Oct. 10.
“i like that you are seeing things produced by the people who help you produce your own art. you can also see all the different ways you can produce art at uconn.”Kaylee Daniele, third semester Bachelor of Fine Arts student
Amanda Douberley, the Benton’s assistant curator and academic liaison, explained the variety offered by the faculty exhibit.
“The different kinds of work in the exhibition reflect the diverse media that are offered by the department. We have faculty in everything from painting to industrial design. We also have faculty represented from the campuses aside from Storrs where art classes are offered,” Douberley said.
Kaylee Daniele, a third semester Bachelor of Fine Arts student, said that she appreciated the opportunity to see the work of her professors in the museum.
“I like that you are seeing things produced by the people who help you produce your own art,” Daniele said. “You can also see all the different ways you can produce art at UConn.”
The other new exhibition, Prints and People Before Photography, looks at a history of prints from 1490 to 1825. The exhibit was curated by Douberley with the help of interns Sarah Agha and Cole Heitmann. Douberley emphasized the importance of having these prints on display.
“Works on paper are light-sensitive, so we don’t have them up for as long a duration as painting. Being able to see prints on the wall is always exciting,” Douberley said.
According to Douberley, the show examines the social history of prints, especially before photography was practical and common.
“the different kinds of work in the exhibition reflect the diverse media that are offered by the department. we have faculty in everything from painting to industrial design. we also have faculty represented from the campuses aside from storrs where art classes are offered.”Amanda Douberley, Benton’s Assistant Curator
“Before museums were as widespread as they are now, paintings could only be seen by a small number of people,” Douberley explained. “When we think about a world where images are more unique than they are now, the advent of printmaking was really how people accessed representations of artworks.”
The exhibition shows different approaches to reproducing paintings and explores copying artwork both for education and plagiarism, according to Douberley.
“People who come and see the exhibition can see works of art that we don’t have out of storage very much here at the museum and think a little bit about the time before photography. I think it’s always interesting to think about the role of images in the past,” Douberley said.
Brandon Choi, a fifth semester communications major with a studio arts minor, enjoyed the unique perspective that prints brought to average scenes.
“It’s nice to see people make the most out of everyday scenery and have that translate into a medium that creates a different reality by focusing on certain aspects,” Choi said.
it’s nice to see people make the most out of everyday scenery and have that translate into a medium that creates a different reality by focusing on certain aspects.”Brandon Choi, fifth semester Communications major
The museum is also currently featuring an exhibition celebrating art done by women. This exhibit is the second part of the Benton’s series highlighting art by women, and it displays art across many media, from paintings and drawings to textiles and video.
Douberley said that students who are interested in the artwork will have chances to interact with them through the Benton’s programs.
“If people are interested, we always have public programs related to our exhibitions. We have a couple programs coming up that have a hands-on component exploring print-making and exploring some pieces in the Celebrating Art by Women Exhibition,” Douberley explained.
On Thursday, Sept. 14, students can register for a Zoom meeting and try their hand at making a print of a leaf. They can also design a mosaic-style picture frame as they learn about the Benton’s works by women on Wednesday, Oct. 11. Supply kits for the hands-on activities will be available at the Benton one week before each event.
The 2023 Studio Art Faculty Exhibition will be on display until Oct. 15. The Prints and People Before Photography exhibit will be featured until Dec. 27.