On Wednesday, October 3rd and Thursday, October 4th, artist Jeffery Gibson was on the Hill to meet with members of the Hamilton community. Gibson’s work is the subject of the Wellin’s current fall show This Is the Day. Curated by Gibson and Tracy L. Adler, the museum’s Johnson-Pote Director, This Is the Day is an immersive presentation of Gibson’s oeuvre, including works in painting, video, sculpture, and assemblage. The Thursday portion of Gibson’s visit was a Q&A session in the gallery. Sponsored by the student-led Wellin Initiative for Student Engagement (WISE) and presented by Matt Tom ’20, Gibson was joined in the gallery by Adler and members of the student body, faculty, and wider Clinton community to discuss his work in an informal setting. In all, there were 33 people in attendance.
The question and answer period was largely driven by student discussion with Gibson. Questions ranged from why he and Adler chose the title This Is the Day to who his number one inspiration in the art world is. (To briefly answer these questions, Gibson said an influential artist he looked to was Siena Smith and that the title This Is the Day was the title of a song from the late-80s/early-90s by The The). Gibson talked about reconciling his more traditional formal paintings with the assemblage garments and helmets that dominate the exhibition’s physical space. He commented that his practice is largely process oriented and that all his works share a commonality in that they are “the residue of process.”
For her part, Adler discussed the project’s scope from the point of view of a curator and museum director given that This Is the Day spans the 6,000 square feet of the Wellin’s exhibition space. She also talked about putting together the catalogue for the exhibition. Co-published by the Wellin and DelMonico Books • Prestel, the book contains images of men and women wearing each of the garments included in Gibson’s show.
The student body and wider community is exceptionally lucky to have an artist of Jeffery Gibson’s stature on campus for an informal Q&A. Standing in the exhibition gallery while he spoke, I was reminded that the program was the brainchild of a student-led group, and that it was attended by an overwhelming majority of students. The Wellin provides students with a valuable resource in that we have the opportunity to plan public events for our peers in its space and bring leading members of the contemporary art world in such close proximity with members of our campus.