MFA student hosts solo exhibition

Langley Anderson
Langley Anderson. Photo credit: Andrew Ross

The first exhibition in McConnell Library’s newly-named Andrew W. Ross Student Gallery held a first for the event space – a solo student exhibition.

The honor went to Langley Anderson, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) candidate at Radford University. Anderson’s exhibition, Mutualism, focused on her love of science and contained images of various specimens – mostly insects – with a Scanning Electron Microscope, which gave a high magnification, and an optical dissecting microscope. The exhibition is on display through Sept. 24.

“I threw some crazy color on it and cropped it in interesting ways, so it’s abstract and hard to guess what the image really is,” Anderson said.

One of the methods used by Anderson was tri-color gum bichromate, a process dating back to the 1800s, prior to the advent of more contemporary color printing process. Tri-color gum bichromate prints are created by exposing one color at a time onto a single sheet of paper, using sunlight for the exposure and water to clear the individual layers into the desired final image.

“It was difficult but fun and rewarding,” she said. “When I started in January, I’d rush home, run up the hill while the sun was still there. I really was running through the woods where there was one spot of sunlight left. It takes a lot longer when the sun’s exposure is how it is in January.”

One of her professors, Andrew Ross, was “excited to see her use the process.”

“It’s something I worked with her on last year to give the pieces a more handmade touch,” Ross said. “Langley has done a wonderful job mastering the challenges of the gum process in a way that syncs so well with her digital coloring.”

Langley Anderson speaking during the opening reception of her exhibition.

Langley Anderson speaking during the opening reception of her exhibition. Photo credit: Andrew Ross

Ross, who has worked with Anderson during her time in the MFA program, enjoys seeing the progress made by students over the years.

“They come in with ideas and always change and evolve, but what also evolves and grows are their abilities and the quality produced in their art,” he said.

Ross hopes that more solo exhibitions will be displayed in the event space.

“It’s great to have that be a graduate student because it helps them prepare for life as a professional artist where you want to have a large body of work to show,” he said.

“I didn’t think I’d have this many pieces, so to actually see this many come together is rewarding,” Anderson said. “It’s motivating. It makes me want to make more when I see all the effort and practice pay off. I’ve received wonderful support and I’m excited to have this space. I’d love to be able to continue to do this.”

Ross encouraged the Graduate Art Student Association to meet with the McConnell Library staff and become active partners in arranging their art exhibitions.

“We’re still going to have exhibitions by classes and undergraduates, but I also wanted to encourage collaboration so that some shows would be dedicated to the graduate art students during the year,” Ross said.

Anderson said that the event space is “great because it is accessible to students.”

“Other departments are finding out about it and finding out about our program,” she said. “It’s interconnecting the university’s departments and allowing us to work together.”

One of those collaborations will be in the Andrew W. Ross Student Gallery in October. Jeremy Wojdak, professor of Biology, from the Artis College of Science and Technology will be sharing scientific illustrations created by his students. There will be an opening reception at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 3 and the show runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 19.

Sep 20, 2017
Max Esterhuizen