Many students look at the Castleton University Fine Arts Center as the building where you have to take that one art class to fill your aesthetic understanding frame, or where Soundings events are occasionally held.
However, the Fine Arts Center is also home to a hidden gem at Castleton, the Christine Price Art Gallery, which has a rotation of different artist exhibits throughout the year.
The exhibit space features a wide range of artwork, from paintings to photographs to puppet displays, all chosen by art department chair Oliver Schemm.
Schemm has been picking the exhibits for the past three years, scouting them out through word of mouth, receptions and other exhibitions.
He found the current exhibit through 92nd St. Y, a nonprofit arts organization in downtown Manhattan.
Schemm travelled to Manhattan to see an exhibit at 92nd St. Y titled Beyond the Pale, a collection of photographs by Castleton alum Robert Gilson.
The pictures were taken from across the country, from Vermont to Texas to Alaska, and capture messages that Gilson finds amusing.
They range from a billboard promoting a religious website, www.IsHeInYou.com, to a group of tourists in New York City using a selfie stick for a family vacation shot.
Irony is a recurring theme throughout this exhibit, and in a lot of Gilson’s work.
“We are constantly bombarded by information, told how to look, what to buy, and sometimes when I see that information in a particular context, I find it funny,” Gilson said in a recent phone interview.
Gilson said he is “always trying to see things differently,” which he hopes makes his pictures extremely unique and interesting.
Gilson has many shots that he considers not great, but still cherishes them because of the focal point of the picture. You may not always be able to get the perfect shot with great lighting and no distractions, but the main message of your picture will always be there, he said.
Asked to describe his work, which he considers to have “lots of problems structurally,” he answered with a simple “rules are that to be broken.”
Today, we live in a world where most of us take 15 selfies, delete all but one, Facetune it, put a filter on it, and then finally deem it acceptable for Instagram. Gilson’s art is a refreshing change of pace from the perfect, fairy-tale like pictures we see all around us today.
However, we aren’t completely alone when it comes to overly caring about our Instagram likes. Gilson said he posts too, though he seems troubled sometimes when he does.
“With an iPhone, I’ll take a picture of a beautiful landscape or sunset, which I may not take with my camera, and I’ll post that and I’ll always get more likes than something I find interesting intellectually.”