Brookdale Community College

Remote/Live: An Exhibition of Work from Brookdale’s 2020 Fall
Fine Arts Studio Classes

Cover design, Collage, by Rushae Watson, Color Theory Class

Life from a distance.

When things began to shut down in March due to the pandemic, educators and students in fine arts programs faced particular challenges as classes began to move online for safety. How would it be possible for us to recreate together online what is essentially a hands-on experience? At Brookdale, the fine arts courses offered during the 2020 fall semester – painting, drawing, design, photography, color theory, photography, and 3D animation transitioned to a remote/live/online format in which students attended class in zoom on a specific day and at a specific time and were asked to complete their projects within whatever space they could carve out of their homes. Our art students have long been used to completing their education while juggling study, life, and work, but they were always able to come to the studio classroom as a place set apart from whatever else might be happening. The challenge of remote/live/online, with its removal of the set-aside studio classroom, felt huge.

The work in this exhibition was made by Brookdale students at kitchen tables and in bedrooms across Monmouth County and beyond. It demonstrates once again their resilience and commitment under the most difficult of circumstances. We are so extremely proud of them. They took photographs, created what felt like thousands of still life arrangements from objects found in their home, rigged lighting, logged in remotely to school computers in order to work on 3D modeling and animation projects, learned design concepts, shared their work each week in zoom and in online chat platforms, drew the figure from virtual pose programs and used family members as models, worked with cut paper and gouache to learn color theory and visited museums online - all while real-life literally, swirled around them.

As professional artists, we teachers strive to give our students our technical knowledge, but we also try to give them a sense of the reality of life as an art maker. The working artist is generally faced with a need for two fundamental things: time and space. American artist Joseph Cornell completed the works that now reside in major art collections and museums at a kitchen table in his mother’s house in Queens, NY. Louise Weinberg, curator at the Queens Museum has said of Cornell:  "For a person who rarely traveled, especially out of this country, Cornell brought the world to his kitchen studio working under the ceiling he painted Giotto blue.”

Our students this year have been given an unexpected gift - the opportunity to learn how to build a creative life within the physical framework of life itself. They will be stronger for the experience.

This is their remote/live.