DSU art professor making an impact around the world
Alan Montgomery, DSU professor of digital arts and design, does not let geography get in the way of sharing his passion for art with others around the world. Montgomery has been featured in exhibits across the country from New York to Arizona and many other states in between. Now, his art is traveling internationally through textbooks, exhibitions and online classes for students that know no boundaries.
Henry Sayre, professor of art history at Oregon State University Cascades and author of the two widely used textbooks on art history, recently selected one of Montgomery’s works to be used in his internationally published textbook, A World of Art. Montgomery’s painting, Deepwater Horizon, is featured in a new chapter to the 7th edition on art, the environment and its critical position in that dialog.
While Montgomery’s painting in the textbook falls into the hands of college students around the world, two of his works will be featured in the Parallax Art Fair in London. The fair runs Oct. 13th through the 14th in the Chelsea Town Hall. The event attracts around 200 artists from all over the world, presenting 2000 to 3000 pieces. The loose “mosaic” approach to curating the Parallax Art Fair befits its irreverence for the stiffness of traditional exhibitions and is conceptually in line with the event’s spirited accessibility. The art spans the spectrum in content, style and abilities due to the level of Parallax’s universal acceptance, ensuring established and emerging artists are equally represented.
Montgomery not only features art at many exhibitions around the United States and the world, but locally as well. He curates the First Bank and Trust Art Gallery in the Karl E. Mundt Library and Learning Commons on DSU’s campus, which allows him to share his love for art with the Madison and DSU community. He also shares his passion of art with students in classes both on-campus and online.
Montgomery teaches drawing and 2D design online every summer, along with a hybrid digital painting course in the fall. These classes have been filled with both Dakota State students and students from other universities within in the state. Even though painting and drawing may not seem inherently technology focused, Montgomery uses technology quite heavily in all of his online classes. Students are able to share their work in Picasa albums that allow them to comment on each others' work.
“This is very stimulating for them,“ says Montgomery about the process of sharing via the web. “They also share common experiences learning the fundamentals of drawing and design. It is rather pleasing to see how they progress in such a short time frame.”
Teaching art online is actually a very hot topic in art departments across the country, according to Montgomery. He has attended conferences where there have been some heated discussions on technology in the foundational art coursework, where there were certainly advocates and detractors who voice their experience and their perceptions of teaching studio art courses online.
Artists throughout history have adopted new technologies in service of creating and teaching art. From oil paint to lenses to digital applications that enhance productivity and simulate physical media like oil paint and clay, artists and designers are blurring the boundaries between “old” and “new” technology. Students are the direct beneficiaries of this practice. The foundation courses at DSU draw on the strengths of past artistic theory and practice and provide a stable base to leverage the advantages of digital technologies.
Montgomery plans to propose a presentation on technology in art at an upcoming conference, where he is able to share his view on the advantages and challenges of teaching online art foundation courses.