Saturday, October 10, 2009

New Exhibit Encourages Viewer Interaction

The next exhibit in the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery at Coker College features work initiated by Wendy DesChene. As you can read below, DesChene is as much catalyst as creator.

The information below was provided by Larry Merriman, Professor of Art at Coker College.

Wendy DesChene wants your stuffed animals. She also invites you to collaborate on her installation in the Cecelia Coker Bell Gallery, which for her show, will become the Wikipedia of art installations. Over fall break (October 15-18), she will install the background paintings and some basic structure for the kind of installations you see above. Ms. DesChene will be present for a short residency Monday and Tuesday, the 19th and 20th, and will work with anyone willing to collaborate on the installation. For the remaining three and a half weeks, her show, much like a Wikipedia topic, can be altered (by anyone) following the guidelines suggested by Ms. DesChene during her residency. For a start, if you have any stuffed animals to donate, now or when you return from fall break, you can put them in the cardboard box next to the art gallery in the Gladys Fort Art Building. Please note that Wendy’s approach to this project is slightly off center—the fluffy white object in the top picture is made from insides of formerly stuffed animals—Peter Rabbit might want to stay home. This project is not limited to art students, but is open to all students, faculty, and staff. If you have questions, please call Larry Merriman at 383-8156 or email at

Artist’s Statement
Currently I have a body of work touring called WYSIWYG. So far it has made stops in Philadelphia Texas, Florida, and Ohio. It's an installation that began as a personal exploration of cute, which I was also using to parallel American art history. In the same way a grizzly bear is made acceptable for a babies crib, the great avant- garde of art has been made palatable and cuddly by being put on the life support of the museum wall, or on a coffee mug in the museum shop. After WYSIWYG, a large-scale oil painting/installation was retired from its original site, it continued to grow and change meaning by interacting with new communities. In each new community a workshop is held which invites the new audience to donate materials from their lives and create elements to add to the installation. At every stop it grows both in size and universal significance. It is a B-Movie monster, eating away at the gallery walls and Frankenstiened by my own reactions to art materials, audience, environment and critical reactions to philosophy and art history.

Biography Wendy DesChene is a Canadian multi-disciplinary artist working in America. She has exhibited her work in China, Japan, Italy, and Canada and all over the United States. Often she creates situations for community to become involved in arts creation. By doing this she works against creating art whose presence exists only on the life support of museum and gallery walls. Another of her interests is to critique the systems of art historical guardianship, while weaving issues of her identity and the conflicts created therein. South Carolina is WYSIWYG’s 8th stop on its national tour.
Coker College upholds and defends the intellectual and artistic freedom of its faculty and students as they study and create art through which they explore the full spectrum of human experience. The college considers such pursuits central to the spirit of inquiry and thoughtful discussion, which are at the heart of a liberal arts education.

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