Under the guidance of Associate Professor of Art, Debora Vasquez, MFA, students in the Sculpture I and II courses recently learned about 4D art and presented installations, performance and film to showcase these skills. Dr. Vasquez shared that 4D is “just not very commonly known down here,” and explained the significance of creating 4D art projects. “4D art is very different from things that are static. This is very different from theater work. In theater work, the participants are acting out someone else’s story. In performance art, they are performing their own,” she said.
4D art includes installations, performance art, kinetic art that moves, and animation. Some of the students in the course presented an installation project only, while others like Jennifer Garza presented a performance art.
Garza’s performance was entitled “Aftermath” and focused on her own personal experiences being sexually assaulted in the military. “Even though you don’t always want to give people the idea that ‘that’s the girl that was sexually assaulted,’ this happened to me and it’s still part of me in a little way,” she said.
Because “installation is very personal,” Professor Vasquez gave her students the freedom to choose their own topics for the project. “They all selected their own things they wanted to say. Some are very vivid like Jennifer Garza’s, some are a little more subtle like Brianna de León’s.
De León’s art installation was entitled “The Life” and focuses on her connection to the topic. She used a dorm room to showcase the life of college students and filled her space with items and trash she collected from her daily life. “I wasn’t sure what else to work with and since I already knew I wanted a dorm room, what better to do than the life of a student,” she said.
Professor Vasquez believes doing a project like this is very beneficial for students for a multitude of reasons. “It’s really good for students to break away. We want them to feel like they’re comfortable with their bodies,” and “these students students need to have a performance kind of work and have practice presenting,” she said.
Vasquez further emphasized that the Our Lady of the Lake University art program helps students advance their speaking skills. “In all of the art classes they do a paper, art work reflecting that paper and then a presentation. By the time they graduate and do their final exhibition they’re presenting like pros and that’s one of the things I’m very proud of,” she said.
With the wide variety of topics selected, students have been preparing for their art installations in different ways. “They start with a great idea and I add ‘well what if you did this, what if you did that,’ and some things they take and some things they won’t and that’s okay, they’ve thought about it.” Vasquez said.
The set up process was different for each person as well. “I already knew I was going to have a room within a room. I went simple with white bed sheets and used some of the sayings I had been told with acrylic paint. I’m sitting on a bench with blood coming out of where it would come out of me. I brought my military gear in case people wanted to really emphasize and understand that really does happen to a lot of women and men in the military,” Garza said.
“It was kind of weird setting up a messy room. Usually I love cleaning up my room but I had to purposely stage a messy room and it was a neat experience for me,” de León said.
Everyone had their own favorite part of preparing and viewing the installation projects.
“My favorite part would have to be setting up the part where it is about the student and not being perfect. That hits harder on me from all the other aspects, especially putting up my parents personal cards to me. Like wow, I don’t have to be this, I’m already a good student in their eyes, and then having other people respond to wait they do to relax and what I can do has been a big impact on me,” de León said.
“I am most proud of the fact that everyone did actually show up, a lot of people did come and see me and getting the word out that this happens all the time and not just to women – to men and everybody. It’s not a pretty thing we want to know or emphasize, but this does happen and I want to know that even though it happens you can in a sense heal anyway that you can just keep going on and forward,” Garza added.
Vasquez furthed added that seeing the culmination of the projects has been very interesting for her, because installation is “very different from the other projects where they’re working in the classroom everyday. These have been very different because they’re not always in the classroom. They’re looking up things, like Jennifer said ‘I don’t know how to sew, I need to sew these sheets together’ – so she brought a sewing machine, I brought a sewing machine and then showed her how to sew and she did a really great job with it. Seeing the culmination of these projects is just really amazing,” she said.