In addition to their close work with a deeply talented and committed arts faculty, Middlesex students also have the opportunity to work with visiting professional artists throughout the year. This winter, our artists were thrilled to learn from not one but two extraordinary visiting artists. Gordon D. Chase, a New England based visual artist whose exhibition "The Insanity of Violence" is currently on display in our gallery, worked with several Middlesex artists to help them refine their individual projects. Known for his "art with a social conscience," Mr. Chase helped students examine such existential questions as "Who am I?" and "Who are we?" through the medium of visual art.
Middlesex ceramicists, meanwhile, were treated to a visit by Milan McNall, a New Hampshire based ceramists who, as she puts it, has been "playing with clay" for over 30 years, learning under many different master ceramicists all over the United States. She works in many different aspects in clay, from throwing large bowls and functional ware to creating hand-built sculpture pieces and altered pieces. Ms. McNall also creates architectural pieces such as bird baths, fountains, tiles, and sinks. Her teaching philosophy is to help students take the "Oops" and turn it into a "Wow."
In class, Ms. McNall introduced our students to the pinched forms of ceramics and urged the young artists to think deeply about the texture of clay. She also helped the students create beautiful nature-textured slab forms, from bowls to serving plates to sculptures. In the out-of-class studio time, she helped many students feel more comfortable wheel throwing and also introduced artists to techniques on throwing large bowls and vessels. It's been a busy few weeks in the visual arts department, and the results have been beautiful, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
Milan McNall works with students in the ceramics studio.