Thursday Afternoon, the Mount welcomed artist Megan Van Wagoner to the Delaplaine gallery to debut her exhibit Growing Dilemma. Professor Holtry and the entire art department put together a well-organized event including snacks and refreshments for attendees. The small gallery was surprisingly open and airy. The agricultural theme of the exhibit was abundantly evident. The theme was based on Van Wagoner’s background. She grew up in Ohio on a dairy farm that was surrounded by cornfields. She watched the landscapes around her transform with food production and it inspired her to work on this project. There were many sculptures involving various produce such as cobs of corn and potatoes: made of clay, blown glass, cast iron and aluminum.
A few of the more popular pieces included a metallic cabbage mold connected to a large wooden shovel handle titled Comforts of Home. Another student favorite seemed to be Warm Potatoes, a selection of glass potatoes, each wrapped in a woolen “sweaters.” Other mediums the artist used were paint, steel, brass and rubber.
She also utilized materials as simple as cardboard as shown in Starch, which seems to be a commentary on commercialism and consumerism – one of the glass potatoes in a box, labeled “STARCH.” Each box wore a price tag of 80 dollars. A more intricate sculpture displayed was a cast aluminum model of scissor handles connected to cast aluminum fingers (as opposed to blades).
Van Wagoner explained that her ideas typically start as drawings and then she tries to improve or expand on a functional object in her work. She then creates a sculpture of the everyday object, making it fit her vision. She explained that it is not her goal to “hit people over the head with her ideas.” She prefers that her pieces are “initially just something to look at, and then they become thought provoking and hopefully encourage contemplation.” She also expressed that she tends to reflect on her art with more drawings after her sculptures are completed and shown in shows.
It took the artist seven years to complete this collection. She decided she was finished when she realized; “I’m at the point when I’m done with it when I’ve exhausted all of my ideas with it.”
She is currently taking strides toward new ideas, and new ways to express her artistic lifestyle. She is inclined to use “the same materials, but there are new subjects to expand upon and explore.”