Work Against Grain, a solo exhibition of work by christian.ryan, a transdisciplinary artist and teacher in Loomis Chaffee’s Visual Arts Department, opened in the Sue and Eugene Mercy Jr. Gallery in the Richmond Art Center on September 21.
Work Against Grain is an interactive exhibition of 14 different pieces involving sound, simple motors, and sleek figures — all created from reclaimed wood, most of which was sourced from trees recently taken down on the Island. The artist hopes that the kinetic works displayed in the exhibition will encourage interaction and reaction from the student and faculty visitors.
“A large number of the pieces had their start in a creative research trip that I took to France, which was funded by the school,” christian said. “The work that I do in the studio feeds back into the classroom and the work I do in the classroom feeds back into my art,” he explained.
The exhibition opening coincided with the opening of several other shows in the Richmond Art Center. The Community Arts Exhibition, featuring works in various media by Loomis faculty, staff, and other adult members of the school community, and the Emerging Artists and Emerging Writers exhibitions of student work are running concurrently in the Barnes and Wilde Galleries.
The Emerging Writers program invites student writers of all inspirations to submit proposals for independent development during the summer. At the end of the summer, the Emerging Writers share their work with the Loomis community. Poetry, short stories, and other written pieces by the 28 student participants are on display.
“The act of writing is often independent and personal,” remarked Kate Saxton, director of Writing Initiatives at Loomis. “I think it’s wonderful that this annual event allows students to engage with their audiences and celebrate with our community.”
Senior Aidan Cooper and junior Chinelo Osakwe both shared their written work in the exhibition. “I have always been writing,” Aidan said, “and the culture at Loomis really bolstered my love for writing as well as my ability to write.”
Chinelo said the writing program has enabled her to creatively explore topics and ideas in a different way and “has helped me to become a better writer by teaching me different techniques.” Similarly, the Emerging Artists program invites student visual artists to pursue projects over the summer and submit the completed work for the annual showcase. This year, 27 student artists displayed their work.
“The colors represent me,” junior Sofia Mansilla said in describing her painting. The bright colors and the dark colors that she used work together to show the different aspects of her personality, she explained, adding that she found her passion for the visual arts at Loomis.
Junior Julie Kang also said her artwork is part of her personality. “I have something more inside myself that I don’t show to people,” she said. Her visual arts teachers at Loomis and the freedom she found to express her ideas at Loomis inspire her work, she added.
“I love the creativity and drive of our students,” said Stacy-Ann Rowe ’97, a visual arts teacher and the coordinator of the Emerging Artists exhibition. “Seeing the look on their faces as guests viewed their artwork was unmatched. I am beyond proud,” she said.