A Summary Listing of Faculty Activities at Colleges Around the Nation
“Target 51” by Charles McGill.
Charles McGill, professor of art at Borough of Manhattan Community College (N.Y.), recently won a $25,000 Painters & Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation for his work made from deconstructed golf bags. “For me as a black man, taking this historically ‘white’ object, repurposing it and putting another identity to it resonates on a lot of levels,” says McGill. “It’s not a coincidence that a lot of this work started right around the time that President Obama took office. There was that sense of change in the country, the potential for dismantling old belief systems.” He explains that many older golf bags are made in the South, and stamped with the name of where they’re made, on a brass plate: “They’re throwbacks to American vintage quality, and they resist coming apart.” McGill, has exhibited widely in galleries, and his first big museum exhibit, Charles McGill: Front Line, Back Nine will open at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in Boca Raton, Florida. McGill welcomes visitors to his studio in Peekskill, New York, where they can see firsthand the process that results in his unique mixed media and socially charged pieces. Amid the canvases and paints are table saws and other tools he uses to take apart the golf bags he transforms into art. McGill shares his work with students at BMCC, many of whom are first in their families to attend college. He talks to them about “formal concerns I’m exploring,” he says, “and personal things that I explore through that medium.” He brings portfolios of his early work to class, “all that crappy art from my late teens,” he says. “Then I show them how my art evolved after I learned some fundamentals … the same fundamentals they’re learning now.” Where they take it, he says, will have to do with their own personal narrative and concepts they feel compelled to tear into.”
In a recent lecture to Central Carolina Community College students, Adrienne Erickcek, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said that about one in five stars — like our sun — have Earth-like planets orbiting around them that could support life. “In our observable universe, there are 100 billion galaxies, all moving away from us. Our galaxy alone, the Milky Way, consists of 100 billion stars, and there are planets just like Earth orbiting around billions of those stars. There is no shortage of places where there could be life,” said Erickcek. Erickcek was the featured speaker at a Phi Theta Kappa lecture held on CCCC’s Lee County Campus. Her field is cosmology or the study of the universe’s evolution. She presented the evidence scientists have collected that the universe began 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang. “But the Big Bang was not a gigantic explosion in otherwise empty space,” said Erickcek. “Rather, it is an expansion of space itself. It is a moment in the past when every part of the universe was at the same location,” she said. “Since then, space has been expanding, and that’s why we see galaxies moving away from us.” Erickcek graduated from Princeton University in 2003 and received a Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 2009. She joined the physics faculty at UNC- Chapel Hill in 2013.