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Time to Slow Down

January 24, 2022
group of people posing with artwork in their hands
Collin Parson and moiré workshop participants with the artwork they created. Photo courtesy of the UW Art Museum.

Visiting artist Collin Parson brings a unique perspective to the UW Art Museum. 

By Michelle Sunset 

“Slowing down” is a common thread running throughout artist Collin Parson’s work and extending through his September 2021 visit to Laramie as a University of Wyoming Art Museum artist in residence. Parson has three installations on view at the museum that form the exhibition Moiré. Parson is an arts administrator himself—he is the director of galleries at the Arvada Center—and these works that are on view stem from his assessment that viewers do not spend enough time truly looking at works of art in galleries and museums. He plays with perception to entice viewers to spend more time experiencing artworks. Participants in his events at the museum experienced the richness of spending more focused time looking at, thinking about and even creating works of art.

Parson’s infectious joy and charisma were at the forefront as he engaged in a variety of activities over the course of his three-day residency. He led UW students who were on class visits through the museum to discuss his work. The UW course “Art in the Elementary School” participated in a slow-looking exercise with Parson’s Light Ellipse in the Art Museum’s Rotunda Gallery. Students shared their perspectives on the work’s transformative power, and Parson revealed his aim of inspiring visitors to see the world differently. He spoke about his upbringing as an artist raised by sculptor Charles Parson during his artist talk in the Visual Arts Building. Parson shared the evolution of his work, along with the successes and challenges he has faced in creating large-scale installations.

Members of the Student Art League enjoyed the more casual opportunity to eat pizza with the artist at the museum and gain insight into possible avenues for pursuing art careers after graduation. Parson gave his ideas for forming art cooperatives and engaged in philosophical discussions about the value of art in society. On the final day of his residency, Parson led a workshop in which participants experimented with patterns and perspectives to create their own acrylic moiré sculptures. 

Parson said of his residency, “Laramie isn’t far geographically, but it’s far enough from the hectics of family life and the buzz of the Denver area that it allowed me to slow down. My work is about slowing viewers down and having them experience their surroundings differently, but ironically Laramie did this to me. I’m honored to have my work in the UW Art Museum and in such amazing company. The residents of Wyoming should be proud of having such a cutting-edge and important museum located in the heart of their state.”

Throughout the residency, program participants expressed how hearing from and interacting with the artist directly completely transformed their experience of the work. Engaging with the artist deepened visitors’ understanding of the works and the world around them. The museum is proud and excited to continue hosting artist residencies to share perspective-shifting and life-enriching experiences with the UW and broader Wyoming communities.

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