Curatorial Statement

The idea for this exhibition came about last spring on a visit to campus, my first in almost fouryears, to speak at Fine Arts Seminar. As an art/design professional and alumni, I was asked to share my journey and career thus far. Having graduated barely five years ago it seemed unlikely that I would have that much to share with current students. I was pleasantly surprised how much can happen in five years and how eager the students were to hear. It was this task of preparing a lecture about my journey that made me curious about where my fellow alumni were in theirs.

What experiences since graduation had been formative in our visual practice and personal development? Could that wisdom be shared with Houghton Community in a meaningful way? Those were the defining questions of RECOLLECTIVE, as the work of recent alumni artists and designers reconvene on campus once more.

Like everything in our lives right now, the global pandemic made the curation, communication and orchestration of this exhibition a unique challenge. Each artist stepped up to the challenge and remained flexible and determined as we overcame new hurdles to bring this work together. This exhibition would not be possible without the support of Professor Alicia Taylor who gratefully allowed me to follow my initial curiosity last spring. Special thanks Professor Ryann Cooley for overseeing the final details and installation. Alex Hood, thank you for your hard work and for being my eyes and ears on the ground. And of course, thanks to the Art Department at Houghton College who have inspired our artistic endeavors past and present.

If you’re on campus this fall, be sure to safely visit the Ortlip Gallery and appreciate the work in person. Be sure to savor this rare experience of experiencing art face-to-face. If you cannot be on campus, which I suspect is most of us, enjoy the online exhibition. The website is a thoughtful display of all of these artist’s creativity, both exhibited here and in their own practices. Take time to review the work and consider the words in the artist essays. Don’t hesitate to share kind words with the artists. In lieu of the traditional in-person celebrations, the artists relish your responses.

Thank you and enjoy RECOLLECTIVE!


Joshua Duttweiler