Pomona College students have the opportunity to apply for funded research grants to conduct focused projects during the summer. Below are recent projects conducted by art students.


Objects for Perfect Strangers

Joel Freeman ’16; Mentor: Michael O’Malley; Collaborators: James Littlejohn ’17, Chris Harding ‘18

This summer I, along with J. Lucas Littlejohn, participated in a SURP with Pomona sculpture professor Michael O’Malley at ArtLandProjects. ArtLandProjects, located on 78 acres of land in the lower Catskills of New York, has been developed as a residency site, with several living quarters and studio spaces made to accommodate multiple artists. A number of New York City-based artists also live and work in the Catskills region. In spending a month at ArtLandProjects, Lucas and I were able to meet and interact with a community of people who have chosen to live lives defined by their art-making. While at ArtLandProjects, Lucas and I assisted Michael on a series of wood sculpture pieces, our primary focus being Objects for Perfect Strangers. Objects for Perfect Strangers is Michael’s most recent project – one that is to be part of an upcoming show at Colgate College, curated by LA-based Machine Project. The show is an exploration of the college’s relationship to its surrounding town community of Hamilton, New York. In response to the prompt, Michael developed an idea to create a series of sculptural objects for Hamilton locals, beginning with two of Michael’s friends and extending throughout the community by way of a series of introductions. Through its implementation, the project manifests objects as tangible nodes of personal connection—linking Michael to residents of Hamilton, and its residents to one another. These gift objects will then be displayed in September.
Funding Provided By: Cion Estate


Documentation of Performance Art

Ian Byers-Gamber (2014) ; Mentor(s): Mark Allen

Abstract: I worked with Professor Mark Allen at Machine Project to create documentary video of performances that took place last summer and this summer. For Machine Project, documenting and disseminating films of time-based transitory forms of artwork is a directive toward open scholarship and accessibility. This summer I participated in The Machine Project Field Guide to L. A. Architecture, a part of the Getty's Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in LA exhibition, by shooting and editing videos meant to be an analogous creative endeavor to the performance art. The video work is intended to share difficult or relatively inaccessible art with an interested audience. This can overcome differences in location and availability, as some events only happen once or others are extremely limited in audience size. The primary method of sharing is through the internet, so the videos are tailored for internet viewing, which changes the editing process. My work for Machine Project (and other Machine Project videos) has also been distributed through a DVD, shown in an art exhibition, and will be screened in theaters in upcoming events. My research involved developing solutions to effectively capture complex performances and to make editing decisions about the proper structure for the videos. 
Funding Provided by: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Expanding the possibilities of material transformation through alternative surfaces, media, and processes

Kulsum Ebrahim (2015); Mentor(s): Sandeep Mukherjee

Abstract: The SURP was a ten-week apprenticeship under Sandeep Mukherjee, an L.A. based contemporary artist. We sought to expand the conversation about painting as artistic practice, and art as a means of access to an event, space, or experience that is not solely limited to a semiotic reading but instead amplifies affect in order to resist self-identity and connd the experiencing body were considered as important means to calibrate the process. The practice involved creating work that is moving, work that is additive and subtractive, and work that is always in the state of becoming. The apprenticeship culminated in a 18 feet x 45 feet site specific piece that will be installed at Guerilla Atelier in downtown Los Angeles. This work is a reductive intervention in the preexisting architecture on a very large scale that explores the immersive and environmental possibilities of contemporary painting. 
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP