Oscar Ritchie gallery showcases political angst


Amanda Spitzer, a senior painting and fine arts major who also has a submission in the art gallery, peaks inside a fake poll in an art gallery set up in Oscar Ritchie Hall on Thurs. The theme of the gallery, which opened on Oct. 25, has all submissions related to politics. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Madeleine Winer

Roger Boggs walked into the Oscar Ritchie Gallery and through the barbed wire aisle leading up to three voting booths.

The first booth has a wooden obstruction, which prevents people from entering. The second has a cup of sharpened pencils but with a steel ballot. The third has paper ballots and pencils, but the tips are broken off.

“The idea is about the restrictions on voting,” said Boggs, fine arts graduate student, whose sculpture greets guests as they walk into the Oscar Ritchie Hall Gallery.

Boggs’ voting booth sculpture and four other sculptures are being displayed in the gallery in Oscar Ritchie Hall until Nov. 13 as part of a political display inspired by the election’s impact on Kent State students.

The sculptures are a project done by a nine-person installation class, the first of its kind taught by Moema Furtado, fine arts instructor and wife of Provost Todd Diacon.

“Installation art is a medium that brings life into it,” Furtado said. “It’s about thinking. What can you do to represent your idea? What is there to represent your ideas? The idea is the important thing.”

Furtado, who said she has done a lot of “political” work, said the sculptures in the exhibit are politically oriented in honor of the election. She said her students interviewed other Kent State students to see what their thoughts were on the election and used it as inspiration for their sculptures.

Hunter Elliott and Julie Sasak, both senior fine arts majors with a concentration in sculpture, formed a team with Boggs to execute the idea, assembly and installation of their sculpture.

“For some reason, the restriction of voting rights has been presented in this election,” Elliott said. “We wanted to take the idea and present it in a surreal voting world that’s not usable in any way.”

Furtado said Amanda Spitzer, senior fine arts major, used words Kent State students said were the important issues of the election. She made a tunnel with the issue words painted on top of pictures of the presidential candidates. Audio of the presidential debates rings through the tunnel.

Another sculpture by Elizabeth Gould and Keith Graham consisted of a constitution reclined from the ceiling with an American flag behind it and tea bags hanging from the sides of it.

“We tried to narrow it down and simplify everything,” said Gould, senior fine arts major. “We just looked at what this country is about and why we have the elections. We were just like. ‘We should do the flag and the constitution because it’s back to the basics about what this country is about.’”

Despite differences in students’ ideas, Furtado praised her class for bringing their concepts together.

“Installation art encompasses a lot of art — sculpture, painting, theatre, movies … all kinds,” Furtado said. “You can use tangible and intangible material like sound and light. That’s the beauty of it. I think they did a pretty good job of tying everything together. They all marry together.”

Contact Madeleine Winer at [email protected].