Working with contemporary artist Peter Soriano

As a studio art major, I get access to a lot of amazing opportunities through the art department, the Museum, and the faculty and staff that run them. Often, there will be a professional artist who will come to the studio, give a talk, and provide my fellow students and me with personalized critiques. We will sometimes be invited to attend a trip to the MFA in Boston or to tour a particular gallery in Portland. Other times, we will be asked to submit work to different shows or publications.

There are countless unique offerings that I’m exposed to, but perhaps the most exciting is one that most recently came my way. For upper-level painting and sculpture students interested, the Museum asked us to participate in the installation of an upcoming artwork by Peter Soriano that will be housed in the Museum lobby beginning this fall.

For those unfamiliar with Soriano, he is a contemporary American artist and sculptor whose work is housed in the collections of New York’s Morgan Library & Museum, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Fonds national d’art contemporain in Paris, and the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contempoain in Paris, among other institutions around the world. While much of his earlier work consisted of large, biomorphic, fiberglass sculptures, his recent work has since taken a much different turn. Now, Soriano devotes most of his attention to the creation of expansive spray painted wall murals.

These works, which have a deceptive sense of spontaneity to them, consist mainly of lines, circles, arrows, and boxes. They can at times resemble the seemingly random spray painted marks one sees along sidewalks in construction sites. Part of what makes them unique, however, is the process that goes into their installation. According to a set of written instructions created by Soriano himself, the works can be purchased and technically installed by anyone with a ruler and some paint.

While the works are uniquely his own, Soriano has said that he likes the fact that the opportunity for participation in the installation process introduces a sense of anonymity to the murals. This fall, five other students and I will be partaking in the process with the goal of finishing in time for the Museum’s Fall Open House. While the opportunity to work with an accomplished and important contemporary artist is exciting in and of itself, perhaps the best part of the project is that it demonstrates the Museum’s continued attempt to involve the community that it serves. The upcoming Fall Open House will involve an exhibition curated by students, the work of faculty artists, and now the work of an artist aided by students.

The installation process for Soriano’s mural will begin this September.

Comments are closed.