Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sandy Dyas: my eyes are not shut

Sandy Dyas installing her exhibition, my eyes are not shut,
in the Wriston Art Center Galleries,
Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin
January 15, 2013. iPhone photo by. J. Lindemann

"Be brave. Brave enough to listen to yourself," artist Sandy Dyas told a group of Digital Processes students at Lawrence University while on campus to install and open her "my eye are not shut" exhibition. The show at the Wriston Art Center Galleries runs January 17-March 16, 2014 and flows with around 100 prints installed with video. Color, form, light, and subject matter inter-relate associatively from one print to the next to communicate something of "the ever-changing, strange and beautiful world we live in." 
Dyas felt completely at home when she discovered the Intermedia MFA program at the University of Iowa in Iowa City in the 1990s. "My curiosity of the unknown drew me to Intermedia," she said. At the time the focus was on experimental video, performance, and the ephemeral. She describes her time there from 1992-1998 as utopian. There was a built-in community and she had access to video equipment. Dyas, Ana Mendieta, and Charles Ray are among the program's alum. "An outgrowth of Fluxus ideas of interdisciplinary creative activities, artist Hans Breder founded this first Intermedia MFA program in the US in 1968. It explored the "liminal spaces between the arts: art, music, film, dance, theater, and poetry" eventually embracing the liberal arts and currently social practice and all things digital.

"Experimentation was encouraged over everything," Dyas says. "We would endlessly discuss the merits and concepts of a work - although Hans was short on giving his opinions - I mean, he did, but he did not interfere with anyone’s creativity. I saw him as a figure who watched and listened intently but said very little — or at least did not elaborate. I believe what he did was create a safe and very open space for students to experiment with ideas." 
In the spirit of this experimentalism, Dyas used current online platforms to self-produce the exhibition and the accompanying book using Kickstarter and Blurb. She currently teaches photography and an Intermedia course at Cornell College embracing simple performance, performance on video, and the study of artists active in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sandy Dyas visits Digital Processes students on January 15, 2014. Photo by Sony

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