Monday, March 28, 2011

A new addition

Song of the Day: Bitter:Sweet The Bomb

Recently Georgetown has acquired a new work in its collection.  This work by recently diseased Irene Corey, helps connect us to the past of Georgetown College’s history.

Irene Corey, or Irene Lockridge Corey Bar, is best known for her design of the lovable children’s character Barney.

Love him or hate him, you’ve at least heard of him

Typically, most artists pursue their art in what is considered the more common mediums such as paintings, sculptures or other directly art centered performance work.  This makes it all the more remarkable when an artist works beyond their specialized field with another passion. Corey is prime example of this because she has worked not only art world but additionally in theatre.  She was, as described by Joe Simnacher of the Dallas News, “a pioneer in painting faces on characters that had previously used glued-on features.” In fact many of her theatrical works appears in numerous textbooks about theatre and theatrical design.  So much so, as Caralle Manning Hill describes, that “[t]here are probably many designers who did not realize that they drew inspiration directly from her work because her style has made its way into the public domain. Irene Corey has become an icon—a symbolic representation of the vital role of the theatrical artist” (1).
One key example of how Irene Corey best combined her love of theatrical performance and art was from her designs for the Book of Job. In this piece, she emulated the styles of Byzantine mosaics for the costumes of the characters.  Typically, changing an actor’s appearance involves either beautifying or exaggerating a particular trait based on the performance.  In this example of Corey’s design, we see that she not only exaggerated the visual simulation of the costume but that this effect had also been applied to the face.  With her research and eye for design, she created a theatrical world that would easily simulate the audience to the power of the religious undertones in the performance.

Corey’s design for productions creates an awe-inspiring experience

In addition to her artistic work, Corey has also written a few works.  One The Mask of Reality: An Approach to Design for Theatre is described to be:
A fresh attack on the designing assignment: A plan of action, from a world-famous designer who starts with the advantage of an extraordinary talent, but then immerses herself in brick-by-brick labour to achieve her ends; who embraces her existing, often limiting conditions, and uses them to discipline her imagination. This book, written with charm, wit, and humanity, and generously illustrated, is directed to the working theatre artist who seeks to expand his own knowledge, enlarge his own experience, explore his own capabilities, achieve his own individual style.
She also wrote  The Face is a Canvas: The Design and Technique of Theatrical Make-up, which both describes and illustrates how make-up can be used to create a character beyond the simple face.  Both of these works are considered essential texts for theatrical design.
            What makes Irene Corey the most fascinating for me is not just the beauty of her work but that she was also a part of Georgetown College’s legacy. She started in 1952 and stayed, eventually as head, in the art department until 1960.  During this time, she collaborated with her husband who worked in the Theatre department. The two of them expanded the prestige of the college by collaborating on twenty touring performances a season, and establishing a children’s theater.  Because both the departments had few majors, they encouraged the a wide variety of students to perform and expand their artistic horizons.  In fact, it was here at Georgetown, where Job was born, inspiring other great works in the future, such as Reynard the Fox and the ’72 production of The Tempest. A retrospective of her work was exhibited in 1994 entitled Past and Present: Costume Designs and Paintings.  
            This artist had also had her share of awards such as being accepted by USITT DeGaetaini Award for lifetime Achievement (1994), a part of The National Museum of Women in Art in Washington DC (1995) and listings in Who’s Who of American Women (45).
            Irene Corey shows how connected everything can be.  She created many significant works that lasted only for a short time. She was described to be attentive to detail and ample research, characteristics that are very prominent in her works.  It is interesting to know that if it wasn’t for this particular acquisition, I would not have discovered this artist and how much she is connected to this campus. (Eventually, I hope to get to other works of hers that are also in our collection.)       

I will leave off with Susie Cox’s description of her:  
Irene gave me a way to find my own path. She is aware of her power, but careful; a quiet teacher who radiates an incredible sense of rightness. She has light in her hands and whatever she touches grows brighter.” (Hill)

Dramatic Publishing, "The Face: Is a Canvas: The Design and Technique of Theatrical Makeup." (accessed March 28, 2011).

Hill, Carale Manning. ""Light in Her Hands": Biography of Irene Corey: A Dissertation in Fine Arts." December (accessed March 25, 2011)
Pannell, Sylvia Hillyard. "Corey Presented with USITT's Hightest Honor." March March 28, 2011).

Simnacher, Joe. "Obituary: Irene Lockridge Corey Barr, designed Barney's Costume." November 22, (accessed March 25, 2011).

Image Sources:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Middle of the semester Reflection

Song of the Day: Beth Ditto I Wrote the Book 

          I can't believe that it is already at the final week of March.  Only yesterday, I was just starting my classes and my internship in January.
On March 23rd, as part of my internship, I had to create a short presentation that essentially summarizes what I am currently working on and my goals for the future. (If you want to see a digital copy of the prezi that I made for this click: presentation draft.  It’s really rough and without any presentation notes.) This presentation was both short and a casual occasion, with an open Q & A for suggestions for improvement.    
In addition to what I did, I also had the opportunity to hear some of my fellow classmates who were also working on internships in our department. If you are interested in their projects you should check out their blogs: Bess's and Jacob's. (Bess is a future art historian in my grade and Jacob is an English major almost graduate.  Both are fantastic people to meet with dynamic personalities.) It’s exciting to know that there is a great variety of internships this semester in our department. Then again, art majors (in this case art history folks) all have different interests and career objectives. If everyone was working on the same thing, the art field wouldn't be the progressive, evolving field that it is.   
Already this semester has seemed to fly by.  However, all this paperwork just continues to pile up. My goals are to finish this semester as strong as I can. I only have a few more reports and research blog posts to go. Wish me luck! (Although this task may mean that I might have to work another year but it will be worth it.)

What is a better project than working with artworks with such diverse histories/stories? 
Its not everyday one could say they encountered both an Rembrandt or contemporary artist Djawid Borower at their office.  

Image sources: my own