Interview with Sandra Reed on School of Art and Design’s “Conceptions of Flight Exhibit”

Victoria Ware, Reporter

The “Conceptions of Flight Exhibit” showcases artwork from students that represents how they view the topic of “flight.” 

“The students who are showing their work… were all in a drawing class with me last fall- an advanced drawing class,” art professor Sandra Reed said. “Their final project was on the theme of flight. We call it a prompt, just like a point of departure.” 

The exhibit, which is on display at Marshall University’s South Charleston campus, does not only present flight in the aviation sense but also in a psychological sense.  

“So, some of them thought about flight as flying, but some of them thought about flight as fleeing-like running away—either emotionally or actually—or animals having to run away from being captured,” Reed said.  

According to Reed, many of the students opted to approach flight from a psychological perspective, “like a feeling of release or of using the act flying as a metaphor—like something they were trying to do but struggling because of obstacles in their way.”  

“So, the theme of flight… it’s a very poetic theme. Like, probably when you hear the word ‘flight,’ you think of particular experiences or specific things you’ve either seen or felt,” Reed said. “So, it’s a very kind of potent prompt, where everybody has their own thing to bring to it.” 

Reed said that the topic of flight also holds a special weight in relation to the Marshall plane crash that took place in 1970 and Marshall’s new aviation program. 

“It (Marshall) has a new aviation program. It’s kind of like rising from its ashes where a flight was a tragedy. Now the flight program is something to be really proud of and it’s like looking to the future,” Reed said. 

Reed said that while the students did not really make pieces about aviation, she informed them about the plane crash and the aviation program. 

“So, for Marshall, flight is particularly a poignant theme, and the students didn’t really make artwork about airplanes or our aviation program or anything like that—but they took their own kind of response to it. We talked about kind of those experiences. Like, I had them look at some articles and kind of refresh their memory of what the Marshall plane crash was and make sure they knew about the aviation program just as context.” 

The exhibit began its showing on Jan. 18 and will continue until Feb. 18.