Art class balances work in their installation

Abbey Whittington, Entertainment Editor

As an assignment for art professor Chris Kahler, students of his advanced drawing class created artworks with the theme of balance to put together in a temporary installation in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

This is Kahler’s third time teaching the advanced drawing class, and he said each time he likes to mix up the projects for the students. Usually, Kahler teaches the painting classes.

Kahler said he did a similar installation project with his drawing students last spring, except the previous time the installation was smaller and located in the window of the department chair’s office. The theme for the spring 2015 drawing class installation was power.

“When brainstorming for this project, we came up with the theme of balance. This theme was very important to the students, since it comes at a time when the university is experiencing all types of balancing acts to stay the course,” Kahler said. “The students wanted to make something positive and inspirational.”

Each student from the drawing class would be graded on their individual artwork, but the project had to work as a whole with everyone else’s art piece. Kahler said he loved the idea of students feeling like they are apart of a larger creation.

“(The students) were excited, but unsure how it all would come together. Each one of the them had their idea and it was hard to imagine how they would all work together into one larger narrative,” Kahler said. “We tested it out on the floor of the drawing studio a few days before we installed since it is over 20 feet high.”

Kahler said once the student’s saw their works coming together, they were thrilled and loved that the end result was a surprise. Most of the students in the class used charcoal to create their piece and cut out forms from larger sheets of paper to put their work on.

“I think the project inspired the students to believe anything is possible and even when they are completely in the dark about what will happen, if they have faith in the process something exciting can come from it,” Kahler said. “We had a plan, but the students were invested in making changes during the install and we spoke about decisions out loud as Chris was taping things up on the wall.”

In the narrative of balance, one student’s drawing of an elephant balancing on a ball with a scale on his head was at the top of the installation, the rest of the artworks branching out from one another.

Kahler said in addition to the balance installation, his drawing students would each have their own personal installation artworks displayed in the hallways of the Doudna Fine Arts Center this week.

“We are very fortunate to have such an amazing building and the students are very thankful to be at EIU,” Kahler said. “They spoke a lot about how much they appreciate faculty and they wanted to make something awesome.”

Abbey Whittington can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]