Stewart County, GACassandra LagmayNicole Kirksey1003 Acres, by Tammy PateBreaker Box, by Libby RollierUntitled, by Dominick SmithHow to Build Your Own Providence Canyon, by Kirston Dunn.Exhibition installation view.Exhibition installation view.

Art as Research:  Field Study in Providence Canyon


In this course, which culminated in an exhibition, students brought their artistic practice to bear on the problem of understanding and appreciating nearby Providence Canyon in Lumpkin, GA.  Caused by soil erosion from the poor farming practices of 19th Century cotton plantations, yet also celebrated as a “Natural Wonder,” Providence Canyon is wide open to interpretation.  Our investigation of this place was informed by a simultaneous investigation into the question of whether artistic practice can be useful.   We examined a variety of strategies employed by contemporary artists that challenge the remarkably resilient notion, most famously expressed by Kant, that Art is inherently without purpose (i.e. Art for Art’s sake).  In a sense the course presumed a use for art, in that the exhibition of a student work was construed as research, as knowledge about a particular place and its historical, metaphorical, ethical and aesthetic implications.  However, it was up to each individual student to determine to what extent his or her work serves a particular end.



Obadiah Booker, Kimberly Crowell, Kirsten Dunn, Charles Fowler, Nicole Kirksey, Cassandra Lagmay, Matthew Moye, Brooke Noble, Tammy Pate, Elizabeth Rollier, Dominick Smith


Susannah Sayler and Edward Morris


UNIVERSITY GALLERY, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA, It All Started with a Dripping Barn Roof…, 2010