Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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The art of disappearing: exploring erasure in Watkins

Paul Watkins and Weber Gallery explores the concept of erasure in the new art exhibit. Photo credit: SAMANTHA BECK

Samantha Beck/ Winonan

The creation of art can in some forms be the process of adding strokes with a pencil, a dab of color on a canvas or more clay to the pot.

This is currently not the case at Winona State University.

On Sept. 24, Winona State hosted an artist talk “How to Disappear” at an art show in the Paul Watkins and Weber Gallery in Watkins Hall.

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Artists and students put together a show where art is not only an additive process, but a subtracting process as well. The exhibit was a cultural critique, space definer and an instruction manual on how to disappear.

Roger Boulay, the curator who hosted “How to Disappear” on Wednesday, said, “This show is about creating new from old by subtracting not adding.”

“The show is about change and space,” Boulay said while explaining how he put the show together. “I’ve known these artists for awhile so I can envision it easier.”

One installation was made of magnetite in a pattern glued to the floor.  Boulay stepped on it as a way of encouraging guests to walk across it and mess it up.

The show was based off of the idea of erasure as explained through work from students and local artists from Winona.

Upon walking into the exhibit, the first piece of artwork is a video projected on a wall at the entrance of the gallery. The video shows a student painting a white wall black and concluding by painting his clothes and finally his skin until he completely disappeared into the background, erasing himself entirely.

Boulay began a speech in the Watkins Gallery while guests gathered around him.  He explained a few pieces of art to exemplify the theme of disappearing before leading the group upstairs to Weber gallery.

Upstairs, artwork from professor James Armstrong’s poetry class hangs, strung up from the ceiling in the middle of the gallery. Most of the poems had words crossed or blacked out to allow a new interpretation of poetry to rise.  A pair of jeans was suspended alongside the poetry with bits of paper in the pockets to allow observers to interact with the art.

“I like when art says the same thing but in a different way,” Boulay said.

In a few pieces, Cheetos and other disposable objects were digitally placed in natural landscape photographs to criticize capitalism and show how nature disappears behind the profits.

Niki Reker, a sophomore clinical lab science major at Winona State attended the show, as it was mandatory for her ceramics class. She said she would not mind attending more art shows on campus in the future.

“This is different from mainstream art,” Reker said, “but very interesting.”

There were other pieces of art throughout the gallery, which consistently carried the erasure and space theme throughout the gallery.

“How to Disappear” will run through Oct. 3.

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