Artist in residence shares her wisdom

Self-Portrait with Files (levitation) by Kim Abeles

“Self-Portrait with Files (levitation)” by Kim Abeles

Kim Abeles, this fall’s Artist-in-Residence, worked on campus for two weeks from Monday, Oct. 7 to Monday, Oct. 14, teaching classes to visual art students and installing some of her artwork in the Seaver Gallery.

The Artist-in-Residence program gives art students the opportunity to work with an accomplished artist and explore different media and tools that they wouldn’t normally use in their art classes at Marlborough.

Abeles is an American multimedia artist, whose work incorporates video, sculpture, collage, photography and painting. Abeles has shown her art in shows in 22 countries such as Argentina, Chile and France, in galleries, natural history museums and science centers. Her choices of diverse media lend themselves to express her views on political issues, which she said she hopes to show Marlborough students how to do too.

Abeles is best known for her artwork that addresses social rights issues, feminism, mental health and the environment. One of her most famous series is her portraits of United States presidents created from smog.

“The unconventional material that I’m most known for is smog. Some of my images are made from using the smog in the air,” Abeles  said. “All those portraits of the presidents, if I had done them as a traditional portrait with paint, would have been a lot different than me leaving them in smog.”
As an artist of many disciplines and media, Abeles shared something different with each of the visual art classes. Students working with Abeles created different but related projects with a main idea of self versus external image. All of the student artwork was formed into a few large collaborative pieces inside the gallery.

“My starting point was the idea that we live in a world where images of the self are so important to everybody. I was interested in this idea that we, in each of the classes, try to think about who we are as ourselves and then ty to imagine something outside the self,” Abeles  said.

Students of different art disciplines worked with Abeles, and learned about expressing their opinions and ideas through art. Students enjoyed working under Abeles, but some students wanted to work on other projects during class time.

“I loved the artist for Artist in Residence. She was great, but the program took time away from working on my college art portfolio,” Taylor Pirtle ’17 said.

Student work will be shown alongside Abeles’s works in “Woven Selves” in  the Seaver Gallery from Monday Nov. 14 to Sunday Nov. 27.

"Like or As" by Kim Abeles

“Like or As” by Kim Abeles