Category Archives: World Journalism Articles

Public Things: Ryan Thompson’s Work with Glacial Erratics

The importance of context in relation to an artwork’s meaning is one of the most widely debated subjects within the art community. Five artists in collaboration with Conrad Bakker created a gallery exhibit which challenged the very idea and defining terms of context. Public Things, an exhibition at Galerie Analix Forever in Geneva, Switzerland, sought to remove art from itself and instead make it into an object of importance for society’s interaction and observation.  Chosen as one of the featured artists in this exhibit was none other than Ryan Thompson, Houghton College’s newest and youngest member of the art department faculty. His work with glacial erratic boulders, ranging from photographs and film to stereographic animations, has been part a long-term examination of not only an erratic as a naturally-occurring phenomenon but also as artistic subject when placed in an unexpected context.

Glacial Erratic Geneva

One of Ryan Thompson's GIF stereographs

Jillian Sokso, Assistant Professor of Art and Chair of the Houghton College art department, was the head of the committee that hired Thompson last year. The selection process and her knowledge of his past and current artwork allowed her to share a unique view of his work and the lasting impression that she hopes he will have on students and viewers alike. Listen to the interview with Jillian below:

Beyond the Public Things exhibit, Thompson has done much work in the past with this same theme of glacial erratic, specifically the nature of their formation and influence on the surroundings they occupy. Since this recurring subject in Thompson’s work has the potential to have visible influence on the structure of artistic critique, it comes as no surprise that Bakker invited him to contribute to the exhibit.

Professor Thompson recently returned from Geneva after the March 18th opening. His work and others will be on display until May 14, 2010.

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