Sheridan College Nurtures Installation Art On Campus

Installation shot, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2005. Image credit: Raphael Goldchain.

Installation shot, The Power Plant, Toronto, 2005. Image credit: Raphael Goldchain.

Sheridan’s Oakville campus represents our artistic side, where the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design (FAAD) supports artists by inviting the arts community to bring installation art on campus.

This month, Derek Sullivan’s Endless Kiosk saw the end of its time in the Learning Commons. This installation encouraged students to interact with it as a piece of living art/architecture by using it as a posting board, in a sense shaping the work. Upon its removal from the Learning Commons, the column had widened at the bottom from postering.

“The loaning of [Canadian artist] Derek Sullivan’s piece came about through a push to introduce a rotating yearly program of contemporary art at Sheridan,” explained Art and Art History faculty David Poolman. This program was initiated by the Space Enhancement committee, which is spearheaded by Dean Ronni Rosenberg and includes volunteer faculty from the Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design.

“After a site visit to the school,” explained David, “Sullivan chose the Learning Commons to house the work as it is an integral location for many students to work and potentially interact with the piece.”

What is the theory behind developing 3D art and installations?

“There are several factors leading up to the development of installation art,” David began. “Many artists have become interested in creating art that is immersive and puts the viewer at the centre of the work, rather than the typical painting hung on a wall or sculpture on a plinth– which generally creates a separation between the viewer and the work.  With installations, the viewer is free to move around the space and draw connections/associations with the various elements of the ‘piece’.  Throughout the last few decades, artists have sought to challenge the norms of art production and display, often choosing to create work in non-gallery environments including the landscape, civic spaces, domestic spaces, etc.  Sometimes the work can be reinstalled in several different venues, but just as often the work is ephemeral and can change during the exhibition or cease to exist after the exhibition.”

“For a great introduction to installation art, I would suggest taking a look at this book as there are many historical, social, and economic factors that contribute to how installation art has developed: Installation Art, by Michael Petry and Nicola Oxley.

Which Sheridan programs teach installation art? Which classes in particular? Which teachers?

“In Art and Art History we strive to teach an interdisciplinary approach to art making. In our upper year classes, students often create installations in drawing, painting, photography, print, design, sculpture, photography, video and sound,” said David.

Much of the installation work is created in classes taught by Louise Noguchi, Lyla Rye, Lyn Carter and David Poolman.

Sheridan FAAD continues to host installations, and has recently accepted a proposal from Roula Partheniou to install her sculptural work in a custom built display case on Trafalgar campus in Oakville.

“I think this is a great initiative for our school as it allows students to ‘live’ with contemporary art,” said David.  “Unlike most exhibitions where students might see the work once, with the work installed on campus, students have the opportunity to visit the work throughout the year and reflect on its making and how artwork has the potential to affect the environment in which it exists. Also, as part of the Temporary/Contemporary program, chosen artists are required to lecture on their work or create a workshop with students.  This allows for further insight into how artists work – through their creative process to develop their studio practice.”

To learn more about the artistic programs offered at Sheridan College, visit our faculty program list online.

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