A Thirst for Theatre

AustinBouchard-7_HP

Austin Bouchard had no clue about a major or a career path when he auditioned for a University of Mary Washington theatre production before stepping foot on the Fredericksburg campus his freshman year. Now four years later, not only has the senior theatre major found direction as an actor, he’s directing his first full-length theatre production. It all began with that first audition. Bouchard had acted in high school and, on a whim, decided to submit an online audition for a production of Rent. He learned that he landed a lead role in the play shortly after he arrived at UMW. “I’d been in class for all of one day, and all of a sudden I’m in this huge production,” said Bouchard. Despite a successful performance, he put theatre on the backburner. He wanted to get a well-rounded experience at UMW, so he took a computer science class and soon declared it as his major. Then, an art class rekindled a love for oil painting, so he added a major in studio art. “The more you … [Read more...]

A Digital Kind of Paintbrush

Photographer

A sprawling American beech tree outside of Woodard Campus Center doubles as an artists’ canvas for art students at the University of Mary Washington. This fall, Assistant Professor Jason Robinson’s eight advanced video technique students created imaginative digital designs through one-minute films projected onto the tree. The technique, called projection-mapping, requires careful consideration of the shape, texture and color of the platform’s surface when designing. “Moving edited footage onto the tree made it transform from two to three dimensional,” said Tyler Duenas, a senior and studio art major. “The way my video looked on the tree was what I hoped that it would be. All the colors came through and the shape of the tree activated the faces in my video.” “Projection-mapping is a real-world skill,” said Robinson, UMW’s first digital art professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Commonly used in theater productions and stage shows, projection-mapping requires deep … [Read more...]

Coloring Outside the Lines

Photo by Leigh Williams '14

A bin of orange bouncy balls caught Sidney Mullis’ eye during a routine trip to Wal-Mart.  The University of Mary Washington studio art major snapped up a plastic ball and pondered the creative possibilities. She transformed the cheap childhood toy into wearable art that she later filmed for a performance art piece called “Straight.” The coming-of-age work earned her the Melchers Gray Purchase Award  at UMW’s annual student art exhibition in April, ensuring the work a place in UMW’s permanent art collection. Mullis, already an accomplished artist as a 2014 graduate, often traverses the line between art and theatre in her work. She isn’t afraid to take risks, and admits she doesn’t fit neatly into conventional categories. “I don’t really know where I sit in between the two [disciplines], and I’m actually happy about that,” she said. “I think there is something more interesting to me when I don’t know. I think that goes into my working process, too.” With “Straight” and … [Read more...]

Wheels of Change

Photographer

Carole Garmon found her inspiration among piles of trash. On a trip to the Stafford County dump, the chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Mary Washington snapped up what others might have passed by without a second glance– two dirty, dilapidated bicycles. Now, more than a year later, Garmon and her art students are collecting and refurbishing discarded or broken-down bikes. They are embellishing them with their own artistic spin, with plans to launch an informal bike share program this semester. “What started with me bringing in two bikes has grown into the Art Bike/Shared Bike project,” Garmon said. In tandem with Garmon’s efforts, the President’s Council on Sustainability is also exploring ways to make the university more bike-friendly through a formal bike plan. Joni Wilson, director of sustainability, serves as the bridge between both groups. She and Garmon hope to debut two finished bikes in conjunction with RecycleMania, an annual … [Read more...]

A Digital Kind of Paintbrush

Photographer

A sprawling American beech tree outside of Woodard Campus Center doubles as an artists’ canvas for art students at the University of Mary Washington. This fall, Assistant Professor Jason Robinson’s eight advanced video technique students created imaginative digital designs through one-minute films projected onto the tree. The technique, called projection-mapping, requires careful consideration of the shape, texture and color of the platform’s surface when designing. “Moving edited footage onto the tree made it transform from two to three dimensional,” said Tyler Duenas, a senior and studio art major. “The way my video looked on the tree was what I hoped that it would be. All the colors came through and the shape of the tree activated the faces in my video.” “Projection-mapping is a real-world skill,” said Robinson, UMW’s first digital art professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Commonly used in theater productions and stage shows, projection-mapping requires deep … [Read more...]

Stage Presence

Nicholas McGovern '14 plays Melchior in "Spring Awakening."
Photo by Geoff Greene.

Nicholas McGovern ’14 never planned to major in theater at the University of Mary Washington. He never considered auditioning for a play and had no idea he had the talent to make it on stage. He didn’t realize that he could sing, let alone belt out a tune in front of hundreds or be accepted into a competitive summer acting school.  He never dreamed he would play a lead in the musical “Spring Awakening” at Klein Theatre. But, in a space of a year, it all happened. And it all started with baseball. Growing up in Springfield, Va., McGovern was surrounded by his sports-loving family. Between McGovern and his cousins, they covered all ranges of sports from ice hockey and lacrosse to cheerleading and collegiate sailing. McGovern swam, played football and baseball, for which he was recruited to play on the varsity team at UMW. Although he declared a major in business, McGovern took a theater class during his freshmen year to fill a general education requirement. In that … [Read more...]

Snapshot of an Artist

Rosemary Jesionowski works with students during a printmaking class.

As an undergraduate student, Rosemary Jesionowski spent most of her days – sometimes more than 40 hours a week – in the dance studio. But after a serious injury dashed her dreams of becoming a professional modern dancer, she traded in her leotard, black tights and bare feet for the chemical-stained jeans, T-shirts and rubber-soled shoes of a photographer. “I was the kid in the darkroom or studio at 2 a.m.,” said Jesionowski, now an assistant professor of art at the University of Mary Washington. Since her unexpected career shift at Ohio University, Jesionowski has made a name for herself in the art community and in the classroom. In fact, her work has been exhibited across the country, including in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. “I enjoy the challenge of [photography] because it is a medium that everyone has access to and everyone has experience with,” said Jesionowski. “I have a career that allows me to continually learn and expand in a field that I really … [Read more...]

Where Science and Art Meet

Dr. Tom Riley, university physician and director of the health center, looks at his artwork on his iPad

The University of Mary Washington is a unique meeting place for science and art. UMW’s physician, Dr. Tom Riley, epitomizes the two coming together in full force. Riley, who also is director of the Student Health Center, has focused on science and health since adolescence. After college, he worked at a private family practice for 23 years before coming to UMW in 2007. Many don’t realize that he has been an artist for just as long. The blend of Riley’s artistic and scientific talents is manifested in the giant murals that embellish the walls of the newly renovated Mason and Randolph residence halls. The murals are enlarged versions of Riley’s panoramic photographs of the James, York and the Rappahannock rivers. “I had to do a lot of different things to get those murals to that size,” said Riley. Each mural is about 8 feet high. The longest one is 104 feet, and took 55 individual pictures to create. His photos offer an aesthetic delight in and of themselves, and not … [Read more...]

Envision, Design, Print

Think Lab_cropgm

Imagination flourishes on the second floor of Simpson Library. Just ask University of Mary Washington senior Alice Watkins who is turning her two-sided creations into wearable art. She joins others in the UMW community who have discovered the wonders of a new three-dimensional printer, called MakerBot. Watkins is investigating 3-D printing through art in her independent study project called “Blending into Reality.” In a classroom at Simpson Library dubbed the Think Lab, Watkins watches the MakerBot as it whirs and hums while a spool of plastic thread slowly transforms a flat image on a computer screen into a three-dimensional object. She picks up the small, gray piece from the printer and places it with her collection. “That’s the reason it is called the Think Lab,” she said. “If you can think it, you can make it here.” She hopes to make a full-size tunic or vest with the pieces, called “scale mail,” by the end of the semester. Watkins, a studio art major, received … [Read more...]

Serious about Art

Katie Rosinski

When Katie Rosinski '12 works on an idea for  a piece of art, she opens her sketchbook and writes words, lists and word associations – what she calls “mind maps.” “Concept is very important to me, so I consider layers of content and what the materials and scale of the piece are saying,” she said. Her detailed artistic process has paid off – Rosinski is a two-time winner of the prestigious Melchers Gray Purchase Award, given annually by the UMW art department. Her most recent award is for her 3-D mixed media piece, “Housed,” that will become a part of the university’s permanent collection. “To have my pieces now part of the permanent collection is extraordinary and very fitting,” she said. “UMW is so important to me and so I couldn’t be happier that my pieces are now living here.” Rosinski’s success at Mary Washington comes as no surprise to Carole Garmon, chair of the Department of Art and Art History. “From the moment Katie stepped into the halls of Melchers, she … [Read more...]