By Chelsea Collier
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland’s Stamp Gallery hosted a talk Wednesday evening with artists Dan Ortiz Leizman and Kenneth Hilker about their newest exhibit, LIMBSHIFT.
The intimate event featured the two students, both pursuing a master’s in fine arts from this university, as they discussed the meanings, creative processes and inspirations behind their respective works.
LIMBSHIFT, as described by Stamp Gallery manager Tara Youngborg, explores the boundaries of the body and its relationship with the world.
“Through their distinctive approaches, Hilker and Ortiz Leizman offer new ways of thinking about human experience and its potentialities,” Youngborg added.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public until May 19, highlighted the pair’s artwork composed of various mediums, including repurposed wood, charcoal, ink and mixed media pieces utilizing AI technology.
Hilker reflected on his choice to pursue his master’s mid-career and how his use of reclaimed wood in his sculptures mirrors his experiences of aging as an artist.
“I think as older artists, and as you move through time and reality, you’re kind of repurposing yourself as you move through these phases of your life,” Hilker said. “So I think I connect to the materials based on, like, ‘Oh, they still have more life in them. Let’s take them somewhere else… Let’s not put them in a dumpster.’”
Ortiz Leizman and Hilker also discussed the differences in their creative processes. Hilker prefers to begin his work based on emotion, while the use of language informs the art Leizman creates in part using an artificial intelligence technology called DALL-E.
The AI art discussion sparked the interest of junior communications major Aryana Brown.
“The thought process behind it, I feel like it was highly unique, and then from there I just got really engaged,” Brown said. “I like the idea of an artist who is established in something, doing something completely new.”
MK Ford, a dance, performance, choreography and pedagogy master’s of fine arts student, is in a relationship with Ortiz-Leizman. They felt attending the talk helped them view their partner’s work from a new perspective.
“I actually haven’t ever witnessed Dan formally [do a presentational] synopsis of their work in this way,” Ford said. “It was cool to me to still keep learning about what they’re making even though I think I know about it from a certain perspective.”
After the talk, attendees asked questions and engaged with the artists directly.
James Cho, a sophomore American studies major who works at the gallery, plans to use information he gained from the artists’ talk in a blog post covering the exhibit.
“Getting to listen to [the discussion] was pretty helpful,” Cho said.