The Science of Art

Posted by: Mellany Artmstrong

Nola Boyle ‘17 was studying science at Cecil College with a plan to become a theoretical physicist, so she thought an art course would be an easy A.

“I took an art history class and a drawing class one semester,” she said. “I thought it would be easy credits. It wasn’t. I saw this one piece by Hans Arp. It was just a string in a shadow box (The Dancer), and I fell in love with art in that instant. I was like, I want to do that for the rest of my life.”

Nola, a Fine Arts major minoring in Art History, learned about Moore when an admissions counselor visited Cecil College, where she had studied for nearly two years.

“They did a portfolio look-around, and I was accepted on the spot,” she said.

Art is something that seemingly would come easily to Nola. Her mother is an artist, her father is a carpenter.

“It was just natural and expected of everyone in my family to be artistic,” she said. “It was just the way most of my family was. Then I would go to a friend’s house and realize not everyone makes crafts and welds things with their brother and has paintings on the walls.”

Nola’s art involves mainly metals and ceramics.

“Most of my work is kinetic,” she said. “I really like simple movements (of the metal piece) and how it destroys the ceramic.”

A recent piece, Boobie Trap, features strings tied to four ceramic teacups resting on tall metal pedestals. Nola made quite a few ceramic cups for that artwork and others.

“I love throwing,” she said. “It’s such a distracting thing. Just do it for days and days and days and forget why you’re alive.”

Nola says her house is filled with pots and “way too many dishes,” and that her parents have a shelf displaying 36 of Nola’s thrown porcelain vessels.

“I get very upset when I see a mug I didn’t make in the house,” she laughed. “My brother got a mug from his new job, a slip-cast manufactured mug, and I questioned them about it. ‘Why are you using that, that’s not a mug I made.’ I’m very sensitive.”

She has high praise for her instructors.

“They are the best,” she said. “They have gone above and beyond any expectations I even thought I would have. They challenged me in a lot of ways and have given me so many opportunities that I didn’t think I would get, coming to undergrad.”

Nola is applying to grad schools, and plans to do residencies to build up her resume as much as possible. She’s feeling nostalgic as she prepares to graduate.

“The Fine Arts Department is so tiny, everyone is really close in a lot of ways,” Nola said. “We’ve known each other since we started, we know our work and know what we want to get out of our work, and we have really good conversations and give each other amazing feedback. That’s something I’m going to miss terribly.”

But she can always have conversations about art at home.

“My mother has an Art History minor as well, and she always would give me little mini lectures about paintings,” she said. “Now I lecture her on paintings. The tables have turned.”