Thursday, May 3, 2018

back in time

Many, many moons ago I spent a lot of time at Winthrop University.  I lived there for 4 years during undergrad and then went back for the 1999-2000 academic year for grad school.  It's as much of a home away from home as I have in my life.  I continued to commute there several years after getting my MFA teaching adjunct for the art department.  When I left 8 years ago to teach full time at Lander University I went back one time for a student show when several of my people were graduating.  It was weird.  I had only been gone a year and it felt odd to be back.  Seven years passed without another visit.  

One of the great students I had right after arriving at Lander went to Winthrop for an MFA in Sculpture.  A few weeks ago he sent me one of those "oh by the way, I'm graduating tomorrow" messages.  That's just how Tyler rolls.  I was tired and busy and I really wanted a nap but it just felt like I was supposed to go back to see his thesis exhibit.  My family was also tired and they opted for a night in napping at home.  So I rallied a few of the troops from school and we hit the road to Rock Hill.

The conversation there was very interesting.  Death penalty, cannibalism, and the latest drama were all covered at some point.  Siri got us a little lost.  There was a strange river and canal we couldn't understand, but we eventually saw some familiar things and arrived on time.

 Tyler's show was pretty much amazing.  It was an installation made mostly of steel components he built and polished.  

 This oversized plug cracked me up.  Tyler built a big plug sculpture here on campus years ago.  He got yelled at for digging a hole in the middle of campus without telling anyone.  Good times.

 Tyler is a nut.  Hidden in several places in the installation were goofy images from magazines which made it like an Easter egg hunt.

 This was the same gallery where I had my MFA thesis exhibit 15 years ago.  

 I saw some familiar faces and got to catch up with Shaun, my sculpture professor who was now Tyler's sculpture professor.

 It was a great, great show.

 There's Tyler with his award he won while we were there.  Tragic lighting.  I'm no photographer.

 When we were ready to leave, we walked out of the gallery and across the street to visit the chairs.  18 years ago I installed 5 steel chairs on the front lawn ranging in height from 8 feet to 20 feet.  The chairs are all based on chairs from the Winthrop campus when I was there and they're all regular scale except for the legs which have been stretched excessively, rendering the chairs non-functional.

The title marker looks like I'm actually buried there.

 Some of my current students on the short chair.

 One of the taller ones in the twilight.

 Singletary was one of my students when I taught at Winthrop.  She's now my colleague at Lander.

 This was a last minute, poorly planned event and in the rush to gather available people and leave, no one thought to plan food.  We were famished by the time we got out so we drove downtown and walked around to find some food.  We ended up at The Five & Dine, a historically important place in Rock Hill.  During the Civil Rights Movement, a group of students called "The Friendship 9" staged a sit in at McCrory's Variety Store where the Five & Dine now exists.  Their spots at the counter are still there with information about where each student sat.  The food is also really good.  The person beside me got those doughnut hamburger sliders.

And I had to go for the chicken and waffles.  

We found our way back home late that night and then we all settled back into our end of the semester rush.  Congratulations to Tyler M. Frasier, MFA.  He's employable and highly recommended.  

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