March 28, 2011Cornell Chronicle — When students learn about invasive species, it is usually to better understand crop damage or predator-prey relationships. But last spring, 15 students turned their lessons into art that will be on display for the month of April at the Cornell Plantations' Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center.
Students in the Print Media Special Topics course Turfs: Invasive Species as Art, taught by Gregory Page, associate professor of art, and graduate assistant Ruth Oppenhiem (M.F.A. '11), visited several locations in the Ithaca area to study the effects and natural history of invasive species.
Students got a firsthand view, for example, of the powerful effects of invasive plants in the sensitive natural area of Cornell Plantations' Edwards Lake Cliffs Natural Area in Lansing, New York, by Todd Bittner, director of Natural Areas at Cornell Plantations. They initially produced drawings of various specimens during the visit and then produced three portfolios of traditional lithographs printed from stones in a limited edition of 20 impressions. The students also produced larger impressions printed from aluminum plates. Each portfolio image is 17 by 14 inches, printed on various types of fine art printmaking papers. The work, which was produced in the Department of Art's Print Media Lithography Studio, is titled as a collection Expending Turf.
"It's our goal to focus on exhibitions that relate to our mission and serve our community, and that's exactly whatExpending Turf does," said Diane Miske, visitor services coordinator at the Cornell Plantations.
Along with the student work, Page's Motifs From My Backyard will be on display in the Ten-Eyck Room of the Nevin Welcome Center during the same period. This exhibit emerged as a body of work investigating horticultural specimens from Page's own perennial gardens. Page's backyard serves as a place of research where he collaborates with the plants growing there in an endless cycle of investigation, design, regeneration, and sustainability. He produces motif impressions using lithographic drawing materials and printing.
A free reception for the two exhibits is slated for April 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Nevin Welcome Center. It will include a screening of Motifs From My Back Yard, a film by Page produced in collaboration with videographer Lindsey Glover (M.F.A. ’08). The film focuses on Page's use of horticultural forms as motifs featuring the gardens and lithographic techniques.
The Dean's Professional Development Funds in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning provided funds for Page's exhibition and film.