CSM Artist-in-Residence Presents ‘Games We Play’

Meet Artist Andrew Wodzianski Feb. 8, 10; Exhibit Continues through Feb. 27

In his long-term planning, College of Southern Maryland Professor Andrew Wodzianski recalled that after college he would try his hand at teaching art and then, if that didn’t work out, he would go to Hollywood. “Usually, it’s the other way around,” Wodzianski said of ranking special effects artistry second to teaching.  

“The college, the Southern Maryland community and hundreds of students are glad that Wodzianski never had to resort to his ‘Plan B,’” said CSM Vice President and Dean of Prince Frederick Campus Dr. Richard Fleming.

 “Our students are learning and advancing their own understanding of art as they see Andy's passion for his craft come alive in his works,” said Fleming. “When students discover their creative side they gain an intangible life-long gift. It is not something that ends when the course ends.”

Wodzianski’s interest in art began as a child with a ‘Mighty Men and Monster Maker’ set that allowed him to mix and match body parts between monsters and genders. “The monster and gender bending creations make up a secondary body of work that I started at age 6,” said Wodzianski. Through his work toward a bachelor of science in art education at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania and a master of fine arts at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Wodzianski never let go of monsters in his art while also developing interests in masks, iconic illustration and games.

It is Wodzianski’s re-exploration of games from his childhood that forms the basis of his latest exhibition at CSM’s Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery on the La Plata Campus. “Games We Play” consists of 18 works, each a nostalgic trip for Wodzianski. “I bought every game I had as a child and every game I had ever wanted,” said Wodzianski, adding that he was amazed at how easily he found the items on the Internet. Recognizable board game surfaces of Monopoly, Clue and Scrabble style the backdrop for the front stage cast of iconic characters that complete Wodzianski’s puns, satire and homage.

The collection’s kick-off piece, “Housing Bubble,” is the two-dimensional Phoenix of a tragically short-lived, three-dimensional work. Through a grant to create a public work for Crystal City, Wodzianski created an eco-system dome, but with the living spaces on the outside surface of the ‘bubble.’ In the spring of 2010, Wodzianski with help from students, adhered 36,000 green Monopoly Game houses to the exterior of a six-foot diameter dome, “very, very carefully, and exactly,” said Wodzianski, so that the pieces would meet precisely from one end to the other. With Wodzianski as director, students—on their spring break—came in scheduled sessions, six at a time, to meticulously create the housing bubble. The completed piece lived on a grassy knoll off Arlington Boulevard for just a few weeks before vandals burst the bubble.

The students’ enthusiasm burst as well until they realized that setbacks and frustrations are part of the life of an artist. In fact, his students learn a lot about the life of an artist as they watch Wodzianski’s works take shape in his studio at the Prince Frederick Campus. “It is important for students to see a practicing artist—I walk my talk,” he said. “It is a symbiotic relationship: they get inspiration from me and I get inspiration from them.” It is also important for students to see the amount of work that goes into a piece before the first dab of paint is applied, or the first green Monopoly house is glued.

Wodzianski realizes that in today’s economy with many programs on the chopping block, funding the arts can be a challenge.  “Politicians need to report to their constituents the results of their tax dollars. Unfortunately, funding the arts does not readily reveal immediate results. A quality of life issue is not as easy to measure,” he said.

Wodzianski will discuss his style and technique as well as what inspires him at two events at the La Plata Campus.

At noon on Feb. 8, a free Gallery Talk will be held for students and the community at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery.

An evening Meet the Artist reception begins at 6:30 p.m., Feb.10 at the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery. There will also be a silent auction of the artist’s selection during the event. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $10 for CSM faculty and students. For information and tickets to the Meet the Artist reception, contact Martina Arnold at 301-934-7649 or marnold2@csmd.edu.

Wodzianski’s exhibit “The Games We Play: The Art of Andrew Wodzianski,” will be on display in CSM’s Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery located in the Fine Arts Center on the La Plata Campus Jan. 28 – Feb. 27. For hours and exhibit information on the Hungerford gallery visit www.csmd.edu/Arts/HungerfordGallery.html, 301-934-7828 or BxOffc@csmd.edu.