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Internationally Recognized Artist Visits Catawba College

April 26, 2019

Category: Academics, Environmental Science, Events, Faculty, Students

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L-R: Forrest and Davis with Catawba students Matt Rodriguez, Matt Barsody, Hunter Griffin, and Matt Baity. 

Assistant professor Matthew Forrest, from the Department of Art at Georgia College Milledgeville, visited Catawba College Thursday, April 11th. Forrest arrived for the culmination of a semester-long collaboration with visiting assistant professor, Dr. Tyler W. Davis, of the Department of Environment and Sustainability at Catawba.

This followed Davis’ visit to Georgia College March 26th to lead a workshop on technology and its application for art.

Forrest is an internationally recognized artist and printmaker, having shown his work in over fifty exhibits from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles and around the globe from Portugal to China. He is known for experimentation and has invented unique and sustainable print methods, including nontoxic printmaking techniques taught in textbooks today. Forrest also endeavors to make printmaking accessible to students with disabilities in communities across central Georgia, including outreach at the Georgia Academy for the Blind in Macon.

At Catawba College, Forrest’s collaboration with Davis was to explore the bridge between art and science through technology. Davis explains that he was, “interested to see how students view and assign artistic value to the scientific representations of data.”

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Watercolor over a screen print of contour lines representing the elevation changes over the Catawba College campus. 

Forrest demonstrated printmaking to Davis’s Intermediate GIS and Field GPS course. During the demonstration, students created two works of art. The first was a watercolored screen-print of the elevation contours around Catawba College campus.

The second piece explored abstract art, as students made a screen print of geometric shapes based on the elevation data within the Fred Stanback Jr. Ecological Preserve. “It was a gratifying moment when we saw our data in physical print,” said Catawba student, Matt Rodriguez.

Reflecting on the demonstration, student Hunter Griffin said, “"Thursday taught me that having a creative mind can change the outlook that you have on a subject. I have never been interested in art and this experience changed that. The experience brought to light that both science and art can influence one another and help explain each work.”  Student Matt Barsody added that artists and scientists could “both can gain something from each other through this creative process.”

Forrest also created an engraved copper plaque of Catawba College’s campus and ecological preserve based on a student-created topographic map. The Center for the Environment plans to display the piece as a permanent work of art. Forrest was excited to see the map “act as a visual reminder of the valuable connection between art and science.” The partnership proved that their fields share more in common than technology alone. As Davis showed Forrest the nature preserve, it was clear that another bridge between their disciplines stood right before them: the natural world that inspires scientists and artists alike.

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Forrest presents Davis with an engraved copper map of Catawba College's campus.

In addition to the plaque, Forrest donated a piece of art to the department, created using data from the Intermediate GIS and Field GPS class. The intercollegiate experience was made possible by a grant from Georgia College titled New Innovations Within Art and Science Technologies. For more information about the collaboration, please contact Dr. Davis at twdavis17@catawba.edu.

Assistant Professor, Matthew Forrest (Dept. Art, Georgia College), presents Visiting Assistant Professor, Tyler W. Davis (Dept. Environment & Sustainability, Catawba College), with an engraved copper map of Catawba College created as a part of an intercollegiate collaboration on art and science technology.

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