This November and December we are featuring the work of eight recent alumni artists in the Michael S. Currier Gallery.
The work includes a wide variety of mediums including sculpture, fiber, animation, digital ceramics, painting, and photography. Each artist was inspired by their experience at The Putney School—a teacher, a friend, the farm, the landscape, or other members of the Putney Community.
Bangwei Bao is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and architectural designer from southern China. He graduated from The Putney School in 2015 and received a bachelor of architecture from Pratt Institute in 2020. His work ranges from painting and watercolor to photography and sculpture. As a meditation practitioner, he examines the different roles images play in reflective practice. His fascination for the religious narrative of the human condition led him to make work that imagines the afterlife, contemplates reincarnation, and challenges ancestral relations.
“In contrast to the rigid composition and symbolism used in the Tibetan mandala and tangka, I am exploring the aesthetic quality of layered spontaneity and its visual effect in reflective practice. Using techniques like layered glazing in painting and long exposure in photography, I construct complexity with simple and repeating geometry. Mimicking Indra’s net, I try to reflect the overall image in the micro details and show the micro relation in the overall composition.”
Miles Chapin grew up in Maine and was exposed to sculpture at an early age. His passion for stone sculpture developed in high school at The Putney School where he first began to work as a sculptor. He continued to cultivate his skills while getting his B.A. in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic. While he has always worked in stone, the style of his sculpture changes and grows as he is inspired by his local surroundings and interactions with nature. Miles has public art pieces throughout New England and in private collections across the country. He currently lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife, son, and two daughters.
“In my sculpture, I use curves and texture to mimic motion and emotion. I carve directly, developing a relationship with the stone instead of precisely copying a maquette. I embrace imperfection, and try to avoid perfect symmetry. I am constantly exploring the inter-relationship form has with itself. I strive for my artistic voice to come through my work, to touch, and connect with the viewer. I work to have outdoor sculptures be part of their environment, to relate to the landscape; to hone the viewer’s attention to the serenity of life and to develop a sense of place. The simplicity of the sculpture complements the complexity of its landscape. Stone has its own natural beauty; I aim to accentuate this and work alongside the stone’s structure. When I start carving a block of stone, it feels as if it is static or asleep. Carving into each block pulls life into the stone, awakening the stone with each curve and angle. Each piece has its own passage to completion.”
Phebe Macrae Corcoran ’16
Phebe Macrae Corcoran is an interdisciplinary artist from Tivoli, NY, working and living in Oaxaca, Mexico. Engaging mostly with textiles, video, text, and found images, her work serves as a tool and/or ritual to help connect the artist and the viewer with other worlds and timelines. Macrae Corcoran is dedicated to revering the materials she uses, treating them as sensitive and responsive elements. Her scapulars, blankets, cards, quilts, gloves, and videos examine states of grief and absence in the wake of the untimely death of a friend and fellow artist.
Yining Ge ’20
Yining Ge graduated from The Putney School in 2020 and is currently attending the Furniture Design program at the Rhode Island School of Design. His experience working with various materials at The Putney School helped him choose furniture design as a more refined area of study. Although most of Yining’s work has focused on wooden furniture, he maintains an interest in exploring other mediums, such as textiles, ceramics, and metal.
Bronwyn Maloney is an artist and animator based in New York. Her hand drawn animation has screened at film festivals around the world. She has a background in theater and design for performance, and studied experimental animation at CalArts. Her poetic films eschew narrative and character in favor of object, lighting and sound. She is currently a professor of animation at Bennington College.
“Hand drawing animation is an exercise in slow motion. Whether spontaneous or meticulously planned, tiny adjustments accumulate over hours, days, weeks, to form something substantial. These video excerpts come from a recent project that has taken years of careful tweaking and reworking; creating illusions of depth and motion that suggest real space, real time. The works on paper are the opposite. No planning, rough sketches, or erasure. The mind and hand working together, straight ahead and in real time. The two provide a balance in practice.”
Isabel Rodriguez is a chicana artist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally born in Texas, but having lived across many states and various countries including Vermont, NYC, Mexico, and Cuba, her work is heavily inspired by the beauty around her. Primarily creating using photography and occasionally performance art, her work explores themes of identity, reflection, and connection. Isabel was first introduced to photography in the darkroom at The Putney School and fell in love with the magic that is the process of shooting film, developing and printing. Originally a dancer, she’s found a love for the two dimensional art form of photography that, similar to dance, has a three dimensional process filled with movement and steps that make a vision come to life in the form of an image.
“Working closely with photographer Rachel Portesi as she created her “Homage to Bourgeois” wet plates inspired me to reflect on one of my favorite series by Ana Mendieta. Forever inspired by her “Silueta Series”, I chose to honor Mendieta’s work by using Photoshop to manipulate digital self portrait images of my body onto medium format color film photographs that, once layered together, form a slightly surreal and almost secretive two dimensional experience. With each background landscape image being very personal to me, playing around with choosing which of those background images I put my body image onto became a surprisingly powerful workflow to create the final body of work. Created during a time in my life that felt deeply hopeless, making this body of work galvanized a new sense of purpose, home, and gratitude into my body and mind. Creating these images helped me better understand my relationship to what the idea of home means to me, which after some time eventually prompted me to create my video performance art piece titled, “A Tablecloth as Gratitude”.”
“My thought process when making paintings is pretty simple. I focus a lot on color, and the quality of the brush strokes. With the sculptures, I try to bring some relatable character to these stiff wooden guys, still thinking about color, texture and materials. I usually make figurative work, but I still put most of my effort into making pieces that you can read abstractly.”
“I grew up in Marlboro Vermont, and attended The Putney School as a day student. I spent most of my time at Putney studying photography and printmaking, but I eventually started painting, which has been my focus since then. I went to Sarah Lawrence College where I studied Painting and Art History. I currently live in Los Angeles where I currently work as an artist’s assistant, paint and sculpt.”
Jingting Wang ’21
Jingting Wang graduated from The Putney School in 2021. She is currently studying textile design at The Rhode Island School of Design, class of 2025. Fiber Arts were an important and influential part of her study at The Putney School. Jingting’s love of fiber, her Putney experience of caring for the sheep, learning about shearing, carding, spinning, weaving and the community of people at The Putney School continues to inspire her work.