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Cardboard: Dana Hall artists re-envision simple material in gallery show

This week, the Dana Art Gallery is displaying a striking showcase of structures made captivatingly with the primary medium of cardboard by students in the ArtLAB and Architecture classes until Wednesday, November 1.

“The goals is to see how far you can reach to come up with ideas just based on the material cardboard” says Mr. Frassinelli, Architecture and ArtLAB class teacher and head of the art department. “We use recycled material, re-envision it into art work, make the artwork, and then we are going to recycle all of the stuff after it.”

The architecture class’s goal was to create a survival structure only out of cardboard at life scale. In fact, some of the sculptures are up to 8-10 feet tall. Two of the large structures will be in the gallery, and one will outside in the Saliba Courtyard. The architects have been producing huge sheets of cardboard laminated with glue. They projected images of shapes and parts of the building on the wall then traced and cut them out.

In ArtLAB, a class based on individualized projects, the year starts out with a unifying theme, in this case, a medium. For cardboard, many students have taken a different approach. “While some pieces of art are figurative, others are conceptual.” Mr. Frassinelli remarked.  Art pieces range from designs of women to quotes carved through cardboard that project light. The project process is highly complex, and it involves computers and laser machines that cut out dozens of versions of the pieces that are then glued together.

Student artists pose with a cardboard creation. Photo credit: Mr. Frasinelli

For both of these groups, the goal is not only to present unique objects out of cardboard, but also to see what it takes during the process to make real these creative projects.

Inspired by the movie, The Cardboard Bernini, whose story editor is Dana alum Jody Becker ‘82, Mr. Frassinelli incorporated the plot into Dana Hall’s art studies. The movie is about a sculptor who builds a tremendous and baroque cardboard version of the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Students watched segments of the movie to generate inspiration and ideas for masterpieces of their own.

The artists and architects have been working on their pieces for a month for this gallery show. Come to the gallery in the top floor of the academic building today or anytime before November 1 to see the impressive work of students before it will be taken down in preparation for the faculty art show, to see, according to Mr. Frassinelli, how “such a simple material is so complex process wise.”