Art Inspired by Books in the O’Neill Lobby

Over 100 ceramic artworks by students in Mark Cooper’s art classes are on display in the O’Neill Library main lobby November 18 to mid-December. The exhibit is paired with a display of books that inspired the works.

What to do when your class created dozens of colorful ceramic objects? Put on a show, of course. That’s exactly what happened this fall, when the students in Professor of the Practice Mark Cooper’s ceramics classes decided to use the O’Neill Library lobby to display the results of a semester’s work in an exhibit titled “R&D.” Coordinated by Robyn Beatty, Lynch ‘21, the resulting exhibit includes over 100 pieces and arrangements of ceramic artwork. The eclectic exhibit is visually stimulating and has attracted much attention as people walk through the lobby. 

Equally interesting is the free form display shelving designed and built by Cooper. In fact, it is so unusual that its installation prompted many questions and puzzled looks. Someone even asked the Answer Wall, “What’s up with the weird sculptures/art at the main lobby? They look super interesting.” The shelving also required much discussion among the movers as they worked through how to get the large and heavy “sculpture” into the O’Neill building. It had to be disassembled to make the trip.

The students also selected library books that were inspirational or otherwise related to their artwork. These books are displayed near the artwork. Surprisingly, most of the selected books are unrelated to ceramics.  Andrew Generoso, CSOM ‘20, was inspired by hiking in the mountains of New Hampshire; he chose the book “The White Mountains” by Randall H Bennett. Maria Zuniga Cordero chose the book “Resistance and Survival” by Ann Gonzalez. As a young girl in Costa Rica, Maria was exposed to Central American folk tales which have influenced the colors and shapes of some of her ceramic pieces. Hao Pham, CSON ‘20,  created objects based on food to highlight the social and political implications that food has within our society. The book she chose was Rachel Herz’s “Why You Eat What You Eat”. In addition to the books that inspired the student artists, general books on ceramics complete the related book display.

The R&D ceramics exhibit will be on display in the O’Neill Library Lobby through mid-December.