On March 25th, Chris Overvoorde visited our class at the Hope College Van Wylen Library with his wife Greta from 9:00-10:20 a.m., the duration of the class. Materials he brought were his autobiographical book Passing the Colors (2002) and a PowerPoint presentation designed for this interview. The book notes Harry Brorby as an influential teacher of printmaking and painting at Brorby’s ‘Ottawa Fine Arts Workshop’ in Holland, MI. Overvoorde noted in this book that Harry was a mentor to him, and encouraged him to attend graduate school for art at U of M. Apparently his letter of recommendation carried a lot of weight. We have reason to believe that we have possession of this letter in the archives, and it is very simple.
He also alluded to the influence of Harry’s printmaking professor at Iowa, Maurico Lasansky. Both artist-teacher’s styles were informed by intaglio tendencies and processes. You can see this influence in Chris’ work on his PowerPoint slides. Earlier this semester in an interview, family friend Mary Porter noted the repetitive, exploratory way Harry painted the Yellow Series--each painting individually and as a series--so it seems the repetitive nature of the intaglio process was not limited to etchings (see Feb 8-14 weekly summation). As for the series aspect in Harry’s own work and teaching, early influences at Oxbow may have also contributed.
The next class, on Friday, our class visited Saugatuck Center for the Arts (SCA) to view a few Brorby Yellow Series pieces at location. Afterwards that day, we visited a storage unit to see the Nur People--fictional found-object people-creatures meant for zoo-like display. There is a page of research done by an SCA intern, but there is no accompanying name or bibliography. It was given to us via Pati Bekken during an interview earlier in the semester, along with a bag of other resources including artist statements, lists of the Yellow Series, and ephemera--all of which has joined the Hope College Harry Brorby Archives. There is another storage unit in Saugatuck with the Yellow Series paintings all wrapped up, which we did not visit due to time constraints. It may be useful to revisit the Nur People unit if it still exists come next term (Pati is trying to preserve these pieces, albeit against a current, and with expenses). It would be useful to keep in touch with Pati to keep tabs on the two storage units, as they may be useful for display at the Hope College DePree Gallery.
Other people to keep in touch with are those involved with the artwork at SCA. On a related note, Amanda is trying to get in touch with the director of Oxbow Center for the Arts to see if there are any archives there with Harry’s work, or work of those who he claims are his influences (see Amanda’s research paper on her independent site for more information).
Pertaining to the week of March 30, the timeline group spent most time and energy communicating about individual projects with classmates and creating the Center for Undergraduate Research ‘Timeline Group’ poster called ‘The Harry Brorby Project: How timeline-event identification has evolved understanding of the artist’. For more information, please navigate to the PDF. format of this poster and others of ‘The Harry Brorby Project’ on ‘The Team’ page of the website. We look forward to presenting this poster alongside our presenting classmates and their respective group posters. This event is a great way to highlight research at Hope College, and we stand in solidarity with the class and people from the community that this class research opportunity deserves recognition!
This week we continued our information collecting, labeling, and documenting process as before. However, our main focus has been on preparing and creating the Provenance poster for the Celebration of Undergraduate Research.
During this time we decided to take a hiatus from digitization, and focus on exchanging information between class members in order to bolster eachothers’ individual research papers.
Most of us have been continuing research on our individual papers outside of class. Little archival organization has taken place this week.