Student work featured in ‘Robot Invasion’

Katelyn Ryder didn’t know where her fellow Resident Assistants were taking her when they said they were going on a trip.

“They abducted me in a staff meeting,” the senior art and psychology double major said. “They took me to New Harmony to see my art on display for the first time. It was precious of them.”

Ryder and her friends saw her piece in the Robot Invasion show, a collaboration between the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art and Tin Man Brewery.

“To see (my work) on a pedestal next to other insanely amazing pieces of art was surreal,” Ryder said. “The New Harmony Gallery does not typically allow student work, but since Tin Man was working with them, they allowed undergraduate submissions. It’s a really rare and exciting opportunity.”

The show is all about robots, and Ryder illustrated the relationship between humans and robots in her sculpture.

“It’s a found-objects sculpture,” Ryder said. “I used Barbie dolls that I painted and added pieces to. There’s one that looks like a human and one that looks like a robot, but their insides are switched.”

She said she entered the show as a requirement for her class with professor Rob Millard-Mendez, and she’s gained insight from the process of sending work in.

“I’ve learned that I’m capable of making cool stuff in a short time if I make myself,” Ryder said. “A lot of times it takes me a while and I come up with excuses, but now I know I can.”

Millard-Mendez said he always requires his advanced students to apply to enter at least one exhibition.

“I had to figure out for myself that I need to build my resume as a student,” he said. “So I said if I ever became a teacher, I would teach my students to do this so they know.”

Four of his students have work displayed in the show, which runs until Dec. 17.

“The students got into it with different ideas, some of robots as cartoon characters and robots taking over people’s jobs,” he said. “There’s a sadness and a sense of humor to them.”