Professor Emeritus, Donald Sunshine, Exhibits in Cowgill Hall
“Social Commentary,” an exhibit by professor emeritus of architecture, Donald Sunshine, was on display in Cowgill Hall lobby this past week. Watercolor paintings and his pen and ink sketchbooks combined to showcase innovative perspectives of big events from our country’s past and present that are meaningful to not only Donald, but to many others.
“This exhibit, Social Commentary, is the rich tradition of the arts. Whether visual, literary, music, or performance, artists have used their artistic voices for commentary. Indeed, I consider it an artist’s responsibility to so comment.”
And comment Donald Sunshine has. This series was minimal, almost sparse, in style, each captioned with a question. It is in each painting’s starkness that the question asked echoes and doubles upon itself over and over. Questions that provoke the viewer to really think, to unpack the very simplicity of what is asked. Consider the painting here which asks, “Is it okay to protest” (yes, it’s our right to speak out) followed by the pregnant pause of the ellipsis…”isn’t?” (maybe not…let’s consider the consequences of that right).
Sunshine’s artistic commentary was active in the dialogue it created and pointedly addressed relevant contemporary concerns, such as immigration, poverty, the environment, and race relations.
“Shunning the camera, I have completed my 16th volume of travel sketches, all of which have been done on-site, in conte’ crayon or line drawing,” said Donald. “These sketches undoubtedly have influenced my current work.” Some of these sketchbooks were brought for Donald to show the students.
Donald Sunshine, professor emeritus of architecture, is an award-winning architect, artist, and author.