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UJ’s ‘All Student Art Show’ may steampunk viewers

Sharon Cox, For The Sun

It’s an annual event filled with fun things to look at and possible items to buy. The University of James-town’s annual fall “All Students Art Show” always brings out the best art to show. This year there are some oddities not seen before.

Historically steampunking clay students have worked on displays that are sure to pique a few brains and may cause some intense head-scratching. The meaning of “steampunk” is simplified as being 19th-century Victorian science fiction.

It’s not like the pottery pieces won’t cause some questions, and some of the floor plans from students in design class will too. But those pieces and assignments are meant to be practical. The steampunking pieces are not. They are meant to be gizmos researched and assembled using specific guidelines for their creation.

The syllabus gives the following guidelines: “The sculpture must be kinetic, have an historic persona and depict air, land or sea, using typical steampunk gears and components, while including some element of fired clay.” Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” are recommended 19th-century reading.

One sculpture depicts motorbikes and heroic land travel. It is made using a body cast and timepiece inserted as a heart.

Another shows a World War II German gas mask that takes on an evolutionary role as robot and creature of flight.

One shows a “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” theme coupled with Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee,” complete with diver’s helmet, octopi and strange marine life.

All possess the required time-connected persona and travel elements, coupled with something that moves and fired clay. All tell a story.

This is the first time the university has stepped beyond standard studio classes, where across-the-curriculum help was vital in making the sculpture a unified work. It will be an interesting group of works to explore. So too, are the hanging works from design and advanced drawing classes, and pottery from ceramics classes.

One of the students in the drawing class has had her work used in duck stamp designs, so her pieces are detailed and very animal-focused. Some works will be offered for sale.

If anyone has an item for this column, please send to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.