Student Spotlight

Quinn Boyle Takes Art Assignments and Transforms Them Into Art Exhibit

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Quinn Boyle ’14, a Sustainable Agriculture major at Unity, took two separate projects, one for Art Professor Ben Potter’s “Re-Use” class and the other, his Student Conference assignment, and created two bodies of work to be exhibited at Crosstrax in Unity opening on Friday, March 15.

Boyle’s assignment for Potter’s class entitled “Glass Plates Re-worked”, asked students to take scans of glass plate negatives and re-use them in a way to create their own work. Specifically, students were asked to:

Make at least three pieces derived from the collection of glass plates, which should involve some element of intervention, invention, collage, handwork, and/or interpretation.  The re-use or redeployment of these (more than one hundred year-old) images is the hinge of this project.  Consider the possibilities inherent in the contrasts and similarities to contemporary life that these images present.”

As a starting point, students were given a series of scans taken from the originals of glass plate negatives recently donated to the College. The images include scenes from Belfast, Unity and surrounding areas and date from the late 19th century.

Potter wanted the students to think about how subtle they could be in the process of creating their works, and whether the intervention would be digital, handmade, a chemical process or a combination thereof. Additionally, Potter asked the students if they would be able to incorporate abstraction and/or personal imagery, and to consider the role of repetition.

Boyle said that he looked over the negatives, which had both positive and negative space, to see which images “jumped out at him” and went from there, knowing that he was going to use them to produce his own photographic works. He saw that there were some negatives that had bluish tint while others were more brownish in color, and found that he was more drawn to those with the bluer hues. Aside from color, Boyle was looking at the portions of the negatives that had pattern and his plan was to incorporate those elements in order to make his own “textile” patterns. After more thought, however, Boyle decided that it would be more interesting to incorporate the entire negative image into his work.

Boyle explained that he is drawn to pattern and texture and knew that for Potter’s assignment he wanted to use his own photographic images integrated with the glass plate scans to create his final pieces. Although he has taken many photographs, primarily landscapes and details, for this particular project Boyle wanted to try using images of people as well.

“I used Photoshop to manipulate and treat the images, and also incorporated my own photographs in the fold in order to create a multi-layered photograph as the end result,” said Boyle.

His process was to utilize the (scanned) glass plate negative as the base layer, add another layer of one of his textural photographs (moss, cement, rain marks on glass) and finally, add a photographic portrait as the final layer.

Recently, Boyle has gained recognition for another of his photographic assignments.

Boyle was the winner of the Creativity Award at December’s Unity College Student Conference. The direction of the Student Conference project was to connect with a local organization and create a story that was easily able to transfer to a project. Boyle used photography in order to convey his narrative.

His entry, the “Overland” body of work, consisted of images of Overland Farm, a family-owned and operated entity, where he captured the essence of the farm by photographing people, animals and landscapes.

One of the proprietors of Overland Farm, Unity College Bookstore Manager Leigh Juskevice ‘92, invited Boyle to use the farm as a backdrop for his project. Boyle saw the owners’ determination and was immediately inspired, knowing that he wanted to focus on the family aspect of the farm.  Through his photographs, Boyle wanted to capture the deep commitment that Juskevice along with her partner Mike Anderson ’97 and his parents, have to the farm.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work that goes into running Overland Farm,” said Boyle. “Two of the owners work full time and the other two are retired, yet they are still deeply committed to their farm,” stated Boyle. “I find very powerful that they remain very connected to the land, show incredible kindness to the animals and are mindful of the process,” said Boyle.

With his recently completed work, Boyle approached Monica Murphy ‘87 the owner of Crosstrax, a well frequented dining establishment in Unity, to ask if she’d be interested in displaying his work. Murphy agreed to support Boyle and the exhibit, featuring both of his bodies of photography, will go up on Friday, March 15.

Friday, March 15, 2013