Chilean infusionGAMBIER, Ohio (November 14, 2003) This fall, Kenyon students are experiencing the creative process of an artist from another culture. As part of an Ohio Arts Council program, Chilean sculptor Paola Vezzani is working at the College, meeting with sculpture classes and creating new pieces of her own to put on exhibit.
Vezzani is scouring the Ohio landscape to imbue her sculpture with the spirit of Gambier. Wood gathered from the Kokosing River banks and nearby lumberyards, along with scrap metal from the Mayer Art Center studios, are giving her works a central Ohio flavor.
"My inspiration comes from the weather, from the landscapes, and from the primitive cultures of my land," says Vezzani. She hopes her residency at Kenyon will expose students to Chile's unique natural and cultural features, which often figure in her art.
She hopes, too, that she can help Kenyon art students identify strengths as well as potential pitfalls in their own work. "There are two things-how you do it, and what you are constructing," says Vezzani. "The sculptures have to be beautifully constructed and well composed.
"I keep following my deepest emotions," Vezzani says of her artistic vision. "I'm going to continue being a Chilean artist. I'm here in a very different place-different materials, different tools to use. But the feeling will be the same. I'm the same person with a different experience."
A native of Punta Arenas, Chile, Vezzani recently returned to her hometown after nine years on the faculty of the School of Art in Santiago's Catholic University. She has shown her work in exhibitions supported by the Chilean government's highly selective FONDART program, and she has participated in collective shows in France, Argentina, and Canada.
Vezzani's visit, which concludes November 27, is supported by an Ohio Arts Council program that funds visits by artists from countries with whom the state conducts trade. Assistant Professor of Art Karen Snouffer traveled to Chile to interview eight finalists for the program last April. "We are very happy to have her in our midst," says Snouffer.
Vezzani will exhibit the sculptures completed during her residency November 20-23 in the Horn Gallery. On Thursday, November 20, she will give a public talk in Tomsich Hall 101.
One of the nation's leading liberal arts and sciences colleges and home to the Kenyon Review, Kenyon College offers 1,594 students a challenging educational experience enriched by a culture of friendship. Graduates of the College have included actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and Pulitzer-prize winning author E. L. Doctorow.