It began as a feeling rather than an image. Slowly, that feeling was manifested in the two-dimensional form of a bird. The bird became a sketch that grew its own set of wings and multiplied--1300 times.
Katelyn Spindler’s (‘13) senior art show, “Collaborative Control,” currently on display in the Dahl Centennial Union Art Gallery, features a multitude of hanging paper birds of various shapes, sizes, shades and textures.
“The main idea behind my show is about letting go, and letting go of control,” Spindler said. “The first thing that came to my mind was the flying bird as a symbol.”
“Collaborative Control” was well over a year in the making. By fall of her junior year, Spindler had already begun the early stages of planning.
“I wanted something new and outside of my comfort zone,” Spindler said. “I think that’s probably one of the main things that the art department has taught me: really pushing your boundaries, and trying something new.”
As an art education major, Spindler had experimented with a variety of media, such as drawing, painting, weaving, and art history. But in none of these classes had she tackled an installation project.
“This is by far the project I’ve put the most time into, compared to all the rest of the pieces I’ve done,” Spindler said. “This is way more time consuming than any of that.”
The process of tracing and cutting the birds took the majority of last spring. With the help of many friends, family and fellow art major Nicole Billips (’14), Spindler’s once-intangible idea—letting go of control – took shape and sprang to life.
“One of the biggest struggles about being an artist is you have this great idea in your head, but trying to make it an actual physical thing is so ridiculously hard to do,” Billips said.
When the time came to install her work, Spindler was organized with a plan on how to complete the task, yet she was able to let go of control and rely on the people around her. Over the course of two days, she and her helpers spent nearly 12 hours installing the project.
“In the end you have all these beautiful, wonderful, delicate birds hanging from the ceiling that are striking white, buff and beige paper,” Billips said. “The shadows they cast and the way they interact with the space, and they’re blowing around, rustling. Having all of that come together in one solid space – it just speaks.”
Though Spindler has her own ideas behind her work, she encourages others to form their own interpretations. “I want everyone to get their own opinion,” Spindler said. “It’s not supposed to be, ‘okay, this is how I want you to feel about this artwork.’ I hope they take something away from it, and they come to realize in their own lives that you can depend on others, which is what I took away from this project most.”