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How Cole Meyerhoff is Sculpting a Future in Art: SMCM Alumnus Delivers Artist Talk

The Brown Bag Lunchtime Artist Talk —  organized by the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) Art and Art History Department (AAHD) — hosts a wide variety of artists and historians on campus. Recently, on Feb. 6, the AAHD invited an alumnus, Cole Meyerhoff, ‘16, to present a lecture on his work to students, faculty and other professionals in Glendening Annex.

Members of the SMCM community have most likely seen a piece of artwork by Meyerhoff without even realizing it. His installation is “by the Monty [Montgomery Hall Fine Arts Center] dumpster” Meyerhoff noted in a humorous manner, jesting at how disreputable the location may seem.

Meyerhoff’s sculpture is a steel snaking structure. It is similar in its material to many of his other works. He is trained in bamboo, wood and metalwork Meyerhoff tends to work on grand sculptures with an industrial look, he explained at the lecture.

During his time at SMCM, Meyerhoff was a captain of the varsity men’s lacrosse team while he earned two majors at SMCM, studio art and environmental studies. The interplay between these two disciplines led him to create works which are inspired by, and are kind to the natural environment.

Over the years, his art has shifted from the abstract to the representational. For his St. Mary’s Project (SMP), Meyerhoff made metal sculptures which were, according to the AAHD, intended to express the “personal relationships, perceptions and societal issues” between humankind and nature.

In 2016 — after graduating from SMCM — Meyerhoff took a position at the Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. There he aided in maintenance, mowing lawns and general upkeep. All the while, he created art which aimed to explain the “disconnect between the elements that make up the environments of our daily lives and our understanding of and attention to these elements,” according to his artist statement.

“Cardinal Marks and Forgotten Knowledge,” the title of his piece which resides at Franconia, “is a work that intends to connect the audience to the natural environment in a unique manner.”  according to the Franconia website, the sculpture moves with a just “subtle puff” of wind and then turns to denote the direction of which the wind comes.  

More recently, Meyerhoff has been creating sculptures of birds, fishes and other animals, some for commission and others for exposure. These works of art help to cover some of Meyerhoff’s expenses, but he still has a job working at a wooden boat restoration shop during the day.

Meyerhoff told the art students in the room to make as much work as they can. According to him, it is helpful to do so in order to figure out exactly what does and does not work for them.

More recently Hannah Seagrave, an art historian, gave a lecture in Glendenning Annex to a similar crowd of art majors, faculty and staff. She gave a lecture entitled “Magical Objects: Curatorial Connections and the Praxis of Art History.” Seagrave is a curatorial-track doctoral candidate in baroque art history at the University of Delaware. Currently, she is a research fellow of European art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The next Brown Bag Lunchtime Artist Talk will feature Lydia McCarthy, a Brooklyn-based installation and photography artist who is an assistant professor of photography at Alfred University. McCarthy’s talk will be on Feb. 28 from 12-1 p.m. in Glendening Annex. Free pizza, including vegan options, will be provided.

[Editor’s Note: The Point News was unable to send a reporter to Seagrave’s talk due to staffing restraints. If you would like to cover events like this for The Point News, please contact our features editor, Georgie Hardesty (gmhardesty@smcm.edu) to express your interest.]

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