Barbara Harmon// Staff Writer
The Volunteer State Community College Annual Art Faculty Exhibit in the Ramer will last until Oct. 9, in the Ramer Building and Thigpen Library.
There is still time for students to observe that their teachers are working from experience.
Nathaniel Smyth, Art Faculty, has digital art on display in the Ramer building.
Smyth said that these images are actually 100-250 images within these pictures.
“I’m usually surprised at the figure that emerges in the end. They feel to me like a kind of archetype in the end,” said Smyth.
He said that even if those who view his art do not understand what goes into making digital art, he hopes they have that same thought upon looking at it.
Smyth said he started working with digital art in 2001 and learned the basics from a course he took, but taught himself after that.
“Digital art is still a new and strange field. There are a lot of different approaches people take with it, but some of the most interesting work is when the artists embrace the medium and work in some way with data or external information, using the computer to process it in ways that can’t really be done in an analog fashion,” said Smyth.
He said people are surprised that he does not consider himself a very creative person.
“I’m always right in the middle on those tests that tell you if you’re left-brained or right-brained,” said Smyth.
He does not believe that art is just about creativeness by itself.
“Creativity alone is confusing and mostly uninteresting, it takes a balance of creativity and focus to really make interesting things that people will be interested in. Usually, the stuff I want to make, what I like about it, is that it reveals something to me that I didn’t know or expect,” said Smyth.
He said his art has most frequently been shown in Chicago, Ohio and Texas.
Holly Nimmo, Public Relations Receptionist, said she has heard several people comment about looking at Smyth’s images.
She said they might view one and feel frightened, but move to the next and feel comforted.
“People perceive and experience the process differently,” said Nimmo.
She said that she was surprised to learn that Smyth’s digital image of Jesus was more than 200 images layered on top of each other.
“He is studying how people perceive deities that they have never seen,” said Nimmo.
She said she herself did some research on the other deities that she was not familiar with and said Smyth’s work is not the only subject of several people’s discussions she said.
“There were several people that came through the Great Hall that really enjoyed Claire Hampton’s painting of the hill at the quarry and have commented about how it is more intact than it is now,” said Nimmo.
She said that many people who are familiar with that area enjoy observing Hampton’s “Station Camp Quarry 3” (oil on canvas).
“It reminds me of how the landscape looked in that area, when I was attending school at Vol State,” said Nimmo.
Laura Black, Department Chair of English Faculty, is purchasing this painting and was familiar with Claire Hampton, but said she had not seen this painting until the show.
“When I first saw the painting, I was emotionally overcome by the subject because I recognized it as Pilot Knob or at least what’s left of it.
“Claire Hampton’s work is one of Ecofeminism in that it makes an argument about the destruction of the natural environment, generally the result of patriarchal forces,” said Black.
She said that upon viewing this painting, memories of it from her childhood resurfaced. Being a native of Gallatin she said she has seen Pilot Knob gradually mined away.
She said she still travels by this area when she visits her parents.
“I pass the quarry from 386 each Sunday as it is represented in the painting, and seeing it, in real life and in the painting, fills me with a sense of loss thinking about the scarring of the environment, the change over time. The subject of the image brings me sadness, but the light in the painting is warming,” said Black.
She said she will display the painting where she can get enjoyment from it everyday.
“It was strange to purchase it for me. I don’t know if I believe that anyone can ‘own’ art.
Like the use of land, we can only be stewards of it. I’m thrilled to be its steward,” said Black.