College of Fine Arts and Design
Upcoming Melton Gallery Events:
Portrait to Selfie
Opening Reception: 5-7 pm, Jan. 14, Melton Gallery, Art and Design Building
This exhibit will explore the act of portraiture and self-portraiture and will include a display of selfies with a prompt for visitors to think about the selfie and the ultimate piece of self-construction. The show will have a wide variety of selfies—some that show a specific location, some with other people and some with pets.
Exhibit continues through Jan. 28
Young Talent in Oklahoma
Opening: March 22, Melton Gallery, Art and Design Building
Young Talent in Oklahoma is an annual statewide high school art exhibition and high school senior portfolio competition. The top 10 senior portfolios earn scholarships and prizes.
Awards: 2 - 4 pm, April 2
Design Department: Lost Without Larry
Opening Reception: 5 - 8 pm, April 6, Melton Gallery, Art and Design Building
The Department of Design invites you to celebrate the work of our alumni and recognize the career and influence of long-time design faculty member, Larry Hefner.
Exhibit continues through May 7.
Melton Gallery in the News
Impressions Magazine: Graphic Advocacy
Traveling in from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, “Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age” was on display in the Melton Gallery this past fall. The collection featured an array of digitally designed posters that offered biting social commentary on events and political turmoil of the new millennium – topics that curator Elizabeth Resnick felt deserved a platform in this generation’s conversation.
Liz, can you discuss some of the themes and topics addressed in this 21st century exhibition and how the accompany images further today’s social and political discussions?
With the ‘Graphic Advocacy’ exhibition, I am working within a decade’s time span—from 2000–2012, during which our global community has experienced many economic and political upheavals and many very unfortunate natural (or human-induced) ecological disasters. My focus was to introduce the notion of examining socially, economically and/or politically charged engaged poster work created in direct response to these events (most) created for dissemination through dedicated websites, social media outlets or personal websites. Some of these posters or ‘visual commentaries’ were designed to incite, advocate, inform or advocate a very specific point-of-view of their ‘authors’. Some are designed as vehicles to raise money to support important and humanitarian causes. I wanted to collect posters that fit into these categories from an international group of concerned, committed and passionate artists and designers.
Despite the many technologically advanced ways to create and distribute images today, the poster still functions as a popular form of graphic dissent throughout the world precisely because it is low cost, low tech, and relatively easy to disseminate. The poster provides an economically viable voice of dissent or alternative opinion for those who would have no other means of promoting their cause, even in Western countries. Issues may change over the years and across continents, but the political poster is still the activists’ tool of choice, whether disseminated on paper or on-line.
The title of this exhibition is “Graphic Advocacy.” Can you discuss how the idea of “advocating” was presented in the designs?
To ‘advocate’ is to publicly give voice to a specific idea, problem or issue. Artists and designers are blessed with the ability to use visual language and its metaphors to craft and create visual messages with the aim to inform, to educate, to inspire or to simply engage in the public arena.
This exhibition and others you’ve curated focus on the power of a graphic medium. What about this medium, in your personal opinion, provokes such an emotional response and allows for such poignant issues to be captured in an image?
Posters are simply a part of our everyday life—whether they are displayed as decoration in our homes or in our work places—they are reminders of images or messages that enrich our environment by providing both comfort and visual stimulation. They are considered the ‘people’s art’, both affordable and abundant.
In an essay I commissioned titled ‘Ode to Ink Saturated Paper’ for 2005 The Graphic Imperative exhibition website and catalogue (http://thegraphicimperative.org/), Steven Heller delivers a very lucid, smart explanation of the power of the poster: “An advocacy poster is the manifestation of a charged social or political idea designed to inform and illuminate, stimulate and inspire, agitate and attack. When finely honed it communicates without ambiguity. When smartly conceived it imparts meaning through complexity and simplification. When on target—when message and image, form and function are one—it shoots a charge into the brain that pierces the conscious and subconscious triggering action, now or later.”
Each person entering the gallery will respond differently to this exhibition based on their own experience and their pathway in life. This is what I love most about the process of curating (researching, analyzing and selecting), and organizing poster exhibitions. The single most important component of that process is in the identification of a singular point-of-view. Exhibitions should not be collections of objects that just ‘might’ have a relationship to one another. Quality exhibitions must have a very focused point of view that elucidates the underlying narrative. Mirroring the design process, you begin with the development of your point-of-view, state it in words, and then stay the course as the project develops. I have been successful with my exhibitions because I have managed to not be swayed by additions that simply do not fit the narrative premise. As a result of these experiences, I understand the role exhibitions can play in both the making of and delivery of messages and narratives, especially for student learning.