Access Denied at Briggs Library

Frederic Cone

Frederic ConeNews Editor

The Access Denied: Two Generations exhibit is currently on display in the entrance of Briggs Library through Oct. 8. The show encompasses work from artists in a variety of mediums and from a broad range of experience.

The idea for the exhibit stems from the research project that professor of art history and art appreciation at SDSU Leda Cempellin initiated in 2009, which was sponsored by the SDSU Academic and Scholarly Excellence Initiative (ASEI) Funds To Enhance Scholarly Excellence.

“The Access Denied idea was an attempt I made in two advanced seminar art history classes, towards bridging the gap between art making practices and art history theory,” said Cempellin.

“While the exhibit is unified under the umbrella of a general concept (Access Denied), each student and artist is a separate universe, tells a different story, looks at the world with a different perspective. Different worlds, different spheres of experience.”

Though the exhibit itself is esthetically and visually stimulating in its own right, the underlying factors encompassing the meaning as a totality goes far deeper than merely how the exhibit looks to a person.

“The exhibit is by all means a visual and conceptual debate on an initial, general idea,” Cempellin said.

“Sandra Ledbetter reflects on the fact that we cannot be everywhere at once, so time with the people we love is denied to different degrees,” Cempellin said. “Evan Place looks at a way to paradoxically deny the books reading and create a flow of knowledge in a structure that is both implosive and explosive. Erika Karsky reflects on people’s subjective perception of her self-portraits’ moods, while Rebecca Cook considers art history, symbolized by the book enclosed in a bright encaustic, as a lantern that illuminates the path of the artist.”

The individual elements bring varying aspects to the show and as whole they combine in way to create a deeper understanding of how art and literature can intermingle with one another. The design of how the space is put together place a critical role in how the exhibit is perceived.

“I was extremely excited at looking how John Rychtarik was positioning the objects,” Cempellin said. “The alignment of the objects in this structure allows the audience to proceed directly to the doors leading to the next room. At the same time, objects act like visual obstacles that force the viewer to slow down and deal with them.”

Two of the artists exhibiting pieces in the show are SDSU graduates from last year out of the Art Department. Isaac Windham, a December 2009 graduate with majors in media production and art and Evan Place, who graduated May 2010 with a graphic design

“My piece is about human-centric perceptions on life. So it really derives from the age old question: are we alone in the universe?” Isaac Windham said of the inspiration behind his artwork. “Animation isn’t typically considered to be gallery work. I think it brings its own special element in that respect. It’s something different.”

Though both artists come from vastly different schools of thought where art is concerned, their work individually comes together within the Access Denied exhibit to compliment one another and the works of the other artists in the show to encapsulate the overall theme.

“I think it adds a dimensionality to the show that isn’t achieved by the sum of the others,” Evan Place said, in regards to how his work contributes singularly to the exhibit.

The area in the entrance of Briggs Library was chosen in an attempt to force the patrons of the library to be confronted with the art and the exhibit as a whole and put them in a situation where they will have to deal with it one way or another.

“I immediately considered both the necessity for the people coming into the library to flow and my wish for them to stop and take a look at the exhibit,” said John Rychtarik, curator of exhibits at the South Dakota Art Museum and co-curator with Cempellin for Access Denied.

Choosing a location on campus posed a difficult situation for the two curators of the show. They needed to not only find a space with high visibility and traffic but also a space conducive to the project as a whole.

“The nature of this particular project, which unites visual products and extensive writing, plus the small number of art objects for display, made it a challenge to find the Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C., I saw a very interesting little exhibit in a small room made available by the library. This made me think the Briggs Library would be the perfect location for this exhibit.”

Whether students like it or not, every-time they walk into Briggs Library for the next month, they will be forced, one way or another, to deal with the Access Denied show

and how art in and of itself has an effect upon you.

“I think the show has an excellent balance between the individual artist and the unity of the project,” Windham said. “We all have our emotional ties to a similar topic.”

#1.1599859:79877825.jpg:The Briggs Library lobby has been transformed into an art museum to house the Access Denied exhibit.:The Briggs Library lobby has been transformed into an art museum to house the Access Denied exhibit. :Collegian photo by Ryan Robinson