Kathleen Wynne Visits Sheridan College

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Today we had the great pleasure of hosting the Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, at Sheridan College. She was here to tour our studios, meet with the President, Jeff Zabudsky, and learn what really goes down in art school. There were no official announcements made before her visit, but I had the chance to Tweet about it once she arrived at @SheridanFAAD.
Premier Wynne spent her time in the Crafts and Design Wing:

·         Sheridan Art Gallery – The premier and her people were the first to see our new photo portrait exhibition by Photography technologist, Owen Colborne, titled “Private Investigations,” which captures most of our technologists who support our programs in Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design

·         Digital Fabrication Lab – Interaction Design Co-ordinator Ed Naus introduced the Premier to our new family of 3D printers and laser cutter. While there, she had a chance to speak to Interaction Design students (Tracey Hare, Yurria Byun, Andrew Park and Harrison Joseph) who had stayed late to work on their coding

·         Furniture Studio –  The premier met with studio head Peter Fleming in the furniture design studio, and showed her how we work with wood, metals, plastics, glass and stone, guiding students to self-directed furniture design. Again, she took the time to talk to student about their what they are learning.
·         Glass Studio – This stop was particularly thrilling for the premier and her team, as several people wondered at how students are so comfortable working with glass in fire. Ours is one of the oldest and largest instructional glass design programs in North America, internationally renowned, and students learn blowing, casting, kiln and flame-working, and engraving.
·         Ceramics Studio – On her last stop, Kathleen Wynn stopped to chat with our resident artist, Drew Ippoliti, about Sheridan’s top-rated facilities for hand building, wheel throwing, kiln firing, plaster working, glazing and clay mixing. She took notice of the clay shoes hanging all over the walls – which Drew explained is a project that all first years accomplish early on – and she thought they were awesome.

Finally, the group – which included the Chair of Sheridan’s Board of Directors, Bryan Dawson and President Jeff Zabudsky – returned to the gallery for a sit-down private meeting. While meeting in the gallery, Jeff presented the Premier with a glass art piece.

When the Premier and her team were on the way out, our Photography students (who had been following along, under the direction of faculty Howard Simkins) presented her with a book containing spectacularly fresh prints from her visit. These student photos are included in the slideshow above. They are credited to Marnie McFadden, Mikaela Baker and Ethan Bender.

It was a thrill to receive our premier, and we hope that she will take with her not only our glass art and photos, but an appreciation for the value of Arts education at Sheridan College.

Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force Unveils New Installation by Roula Partheniou

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Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force has selected a proposal by Roula Partheniou to install a custom-built vitrine in the Learning Commons of the Trafalgar campus. It will house a series of minimal object paintings and sculptures that reference packaging design, methods of display, architecture, food items and common household objects. Roula’s work explores the idea of remaking familiar objects in order to shift perception and perspective.

This task force — created by the dean of Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design, Ronni Rosenberg — has developed an annual competition called “Temporary / Contemporary.” The project is designed to bring innovative and original artwork by high profile artists into the Sheridan community and link us to the broader cultural and artistic milieu. This work is meant to enrich the experience of students, faculty and staff at the Sheridan Trafalgar campus with stimulating and challenging artwork. In addition, the objective is to integrate this artwork into curriculum through an artist’s talk, workshops and projects related to the installed artwork.

The Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force jury included:

Matthew Hyland, Director of the Oakville Galleries

Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design

Kathleen Hearn, Faculty of Communication, Culture, Information Technology

Robert Fones, Faculty of Art and Art History

David Poolman, Faculty of Art and Art History

Jay Wilson, Faculty of Art and Art History

Robert Fones explained: “Roula was chosen because her proposal responded to several of the dozen specific sites that were identified as suitable for Temporary Contemporary installations. She also proposed works that were ideally suited to the locations she chose. Roula is very articulate about her work, so we felt confident that she would be able to present her work to students in an artist’s talk. Her work appears simple but deals with fundamental idiosyncrasies of representation and perception that are common to many creative disciplines. We also felt that it would be relatively easy to create assignments that encouraged students to respond to her unique way of thinking about commonplace objects in sculptural terms.”

Roula graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Guelph, where she specialized in sculpture. “Informally,” she says, “I learned a lot by working with my father, an obsessively meticulous craftsman. For Temporary Contemporary I will be showing a new installation created specifically for Sheridan. It transforms a pair of vitrines into reduced and distorted mirror images of each other. A group of objects are arranged, copied, reversed, and reflected in corresponding shades of gray. The work becomes an exercise in looking, seeing and perception. An experiment with the edge between representation and abstraction and the tension between the actual and the copy, the installation is meant to playfully engage the passerby while rewarding closer scrutiny.”

When asked about her practice, Roula said, “I tend to start with a material and find a way to manipulate it conceptually, responding to its inherent properties. These material exercises, of isolating what’s quintessential about a particular thing and either highlighting or altering it, are an effort to understand different frameworks for how the mind makes sense of visual information. In the same way that material play is key to my practice, quite often, so is working with the possibilities and limitations of a particular site for exhibiting the work.  A consideration for context, or placing the works in situ is often integral to the reading of the piece.”

Roula’s recent projects have centered on an exploration of “the replica and how the remaking of a familiar object can trigger a shift in perspective and perception.”  She uses materials like paint on wood, canvas, foam, graphite, chalk and polymer clay. “Everyday items such as books, stacks of tape, piles of cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, a banana peel, burnt matches, chewing gum, cigarettes, lumber, bottle caps, etc. are reproduced as either highly detailed, reductive or distorted copies.”

Sheridan Space Enhancement Task Force will host an official opening and presentation on Thursday September 26th at 10am in the Learning Commons.

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