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Browder returns to Beloit as Ferrall Artist-in-Residence

This past week, the Beloit College Art Department was pleased to welcome back Amanda Browder’98, as this year’s Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. Artist-in-Residence. Born in Missoula, Mont., Browder received her B.A. in Sculpture Studio Art from Beloit College. She then proceeded to earn two more degrees, an M.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and an M.F.A from UW-Madison in 2001, both for sculpture as well. Since graduating from her graduate school programs she has had 17 solo exhibitions, 14 group exhibitions, and received grants to make art in Brooklyn and Chicago. In true Beloiter fashion, she has also been an instructor at UW-Madison, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and participated in artist residency programs in Brooklyn, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago. She was also a visiting artist at such places as the Winkelman Gallery, the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, CSU Cal Poly, the Savannah College of Art and Design, Northern Illinois University’s Fiber Department, the Women’s Art Collective in Missoula, the Chicago Cultural Center and now Beloit College.

As part of the Victor E. Ferrall, Jr. Artist-in-Residence program, Browder has been making rounds to several different classes within various departments, had a public discussion about her work in Richardson Auditorium and will be hosting an art exhibition on campus next semester. During her public address, Browder spoke of her time here at Beloit and explained some of her works.

One of Browder’s memories of Beloit College was when she tricked the Wright Museum, the student body and the Beloit community into attending an art exhibit by a famous male artist. She did this by promoting the work of a New York-based artist and this mysterious artist’s exhibit at the Wright. She went so far as to give a lecture about the mysterious artist, and created articles about him such as a Janesville Gazette article titled “Famous art presented by Beloit College student.” Browder even dressed up as the mystery artist and took photos, as if from a history book. Ultimately she tricked everyone, and a Round Table article called “Student uses the art of deception to gauge preconceptions of artists” later discussed how she wanted to challenge people’s preconceptions about art, gender and what draws people to an exhibit.

Apart from discussing her time on campus, she discussed her work a great deal. Browder works mainly with large swaths of fabric and cloth– large enough to cover entire buildings. With the fabric and the draperies she uses to cover buildings, Browder wants people to think about how to work with public spaces. She also wanted to experiment with the masculinity and femininity of her fabric sculptures, equating the structure of the building to the masculine and the fabric installation to the feminine. She is also working to bring communities together through the creation of collective public sewing days as well as coordinating these events for the visually impaired so as to ensure everyone gets a chance if they wish to participate. Ultimately, Browder hopes to use art and sculpture as a beacon for conversation.

Next semester, Browder will create an art installation here on campus with the help of students. “Storytelling” will be created from pieces of fabric collected and assembled by students. The students that submit these fabric pieces will write a story about how they found them and how they came to be. If YOU, yes you, would like to participate, it is fairly easy. All that needs to be done is this. If you see a scrap of fabric, save it and donate it. The project will be in the Science Center and may also go into the Powerhouse where we can view it when done. Browder also wants to host sewing days in Beloit in the near future.

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