Art Around Campus: A work by Lowell Nesbitt
Nesbitt, Lowell, 1933-1993
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Andrew Seredinski is a member of the Class of 2014 of Washington and Lee University.This video was created by students during the summer of 2011. It appeared on the University's website during the 2011-2012 academic year.The following statement, by Andrew Seredinski, accompanied the video on the University's website: If you enter Wilson Hall on the ground level and steal a look below the ascending staircase you will see "Oldenburg's Studio," a muted 1974 serigraph by Lowell Nesbitt. The print depicts what seems to be a rather mundane interior, but a closer inspection reveals a few absurdities. On the right is a massive trowel. Compare its size to that of the ladder on the left to get a good sense of its proportion. Nesbitt's piece also includes a number of strange, misshapen sacks hanging throughout the room. These features make the space seem both comic and foreboding, but from here a little knowledge goes a long way. The Oldenburg referred to in Nesbitt's title is the Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg, best known for his larger-than-life models of everyday objects, and his set of soft versions of rigid items. In this piece, two soft electrical plugs can be seen hanging from the ceiling at the center, with another such sculpture hanging on the left wall. Generally working from photographs, Nesbitt created a number of pieces that focused on the studios of his contemporaries. With this piece, Nesbitt, who had an exhibition in duPont Hall in 1983, creates a space that is strange not by its design but by its use. It is a case of a man influencing his environment in a very personal and unexpected manner. The not-quite sepia color scheme and the rather alien features of the piece are what initially attracted me. It is not just a study of a space, but of a mind. In some ways, it is simply a rendering of a place, but the nature of the place makes it feel to me more like an interpretation than an explanation. Another interior piece, an oil painting on canvas, by Nesbitt entitled "Studio Wall Scene II" is on the second floor of Wilson Hall. Nesbitt also donated "The Decade Portfolio" by Robert Indiana to Washington and Lee University and these ten prints are currently on display in Rooms 103 and 311 of Leyburn Library and in the Audio/Visual Room of Wilson Hall. All of these works, including "Oldenburg's Studio," are part of the University's Weinstein Collection of Contemporary Art, which was donated over a period of 30 years by Dr. Jacob Joseph and Bernice Fox Weinstein, as well as their family and friends, including Lowell Nesbitt.