Written by Taylor Humby. Originally published October 28th, 2019.
With the grand opening of the Center for Visual Arts earlier this month came the first of many art exhibitions able to utilize these new creative spaces. “Plaza Park,” an exhibition created by artist Shane Darwent, blends large-scale architectural sculpture, photography and painting as a way to respond to and explore the suburban built American landscape.
Stemming from the idea of hyper-generic names given to strip malls and subdivisions, the exhibition title “Plaza Park” comments on the place names given to overnight, pop-up shopping centers in order to create a sense of history overnight.
“‘Plaza Park’ is this kind of peacemaking with the built environment that I have always had a hard time connecting with, and is a chance to serve, re-engage with, and imagine new possibilities for,” Darwent said. “Through actually understanding the physical processes that shape those landscapes, I hoped to create a space that’s curious enough for people who normally just move through those spaces as part of their daily routine, to kind of trip them up in that process and slow down the read. I wanted to create and find the magic within the mundane.”
By creating work that comments on the history of sculpture, photography and painting, Darwent explores the connections through places that any art student would have engaged with in a number of ways growing up. By doing this, he hopes to inspire new ideas around students’ discussions of art. .
“I think what’s fun about the process for me is I’ve realized over the years, that art can sort of take every path imaginable,” Darwent said. “It’s about trying to find these poignant, canonized, worthwhile references, but just in spaces that we move through on a daily basis. So I think in that sense expanding the lens that we see sculpture occupying or the platforms that a photograph can take, and broadening the possibilities for what artists think they can do.”
Master of Fine Arts student Devin Kelly resonates with Darwent’s message of expanding the ideas of what is possible within art.
“Seeing something like this just shows the possibility of what you can do in sculpture and what you can do with the different visual language that most of us encounter,” Kelly said. “With Shane creating art incorporating rotisserie chicken motors, big awnings, and fluorescent lights, as a student, it’s great to see and sparks other ideas from what he is doing.”
Kelly is excited for the diverse artists he will be exposed to through the new spaces on campus that encourage unique exhibitions.
“I think it’s important to just have a venue where you’re exposed to different artists and different ideas in general,” Kelly said. “This exhibit in particular involves big and ambitious sculpture, and Shane is bringing interesting, innovative ideas that I don’t think we have seen a lot of at Boise State, which is so valuable.”
Aside from Darwent’s work being a great fit for the new space, gallery director Kirsten Furlong echoes Kelly in his comments on the exhibition expanding the physical nature of what students work can be and the material aspects it can inhabit.
“I wanted something that would really showcase what we could do in this space that was different than what we could do on our old spaces,” Furlong said.
When deciding what artist to feature coinciding with the opening of this new space on campus, Furlong resonated with Darwent’s work due to the scale and interdisciplinary aspects of his art.
“Everyone will see something in this work that they recognize,” Furlong said. “Anyone who is walking around in the United States of America, or who has driven up Fairview or down Chinden, will see things in this work that they can identify with. Even if they haven’t ever given it thought that it could be something that had anything to do with art.”
Darwent’s exhibition, located in the Kay Hardy and Gregory Kaslo Gallery at the Center of Visual Arts, will be open through Dec. 17.
Read the original article on Arbiter Online.