Works of art that show­case the talent in the university’s graphic arts com­mu­nity are on dis­play in a big way. Giant-​​sized ban­ners, cre­ated by stu­dent Alex Turn­wall and lec­turer Matthew Rich, have been hung in the win­dows of West Vil­lage H along Hunt­ington Avenue and on the Cen­ten­nial Common façade of Meserve Hall, respectively.

Turn­wall, a senior graphic design and busi­ness major, and Rich, an Art + Design lec­turer, won the most recent NU Cre­ates semi-​​annual banner com­pe­ti­tion for stu­dents and fac­ulty. Pres­i­dent Joseph Aoun picked win­ning works.

Turn­wall cre­ated a series of dig­i­tally manip­u­lated pho­tographs cap­turing the pro­gres­sion of three avid rock climbers as they scaled Ireland’s Doolin Moun­tains. He drew inspi­ra­tion from artists such as pho­tog­ra­pher Ead­weard Muy­bridge, who in the late 1800s used mul­tiple cam­eras to famously cap­ture the motion of a gal­loping horse and buffalo.

I was trying to cap­ture two things at once – the rock climber moving through time and his inter­ac­tion with the envi­ron­ment,” said Turn­wall. While studying at the Burren Col­lege of Art in Bal­ly­vaughan, Ire­land, as part of the global stu­dent pro­gram Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions, he took 100 pho­tographs of each climber during his assent and then “over­laid the images that looked good together.”

The images, he explained, attempt to show the climbers’ obses­sive pas­sion for the sport and their unusual rela­tion­ship with nature. In his pro­posal, Turn­wall described climbing as a “masochistic ritual that becomes more rewarding the more you suffer. In few other sit­u­a­tions,” he added, “is the par­tic­i­pant so obses­sively focused and depen­dent on such minute nat­ural details.”

Rich’s “site-​​specific” abstract line drawing attempts to create a 3-​​D illu­sion on a 2-​​dimensional plane and is rem­i­nis­cent of his studio work, which involves taping together painted pieces of paper to create unusual shapes. The key dif­fer­ence between this project and his others is the design’s rela­tion­ship with its location.

The installation’s colors orig­i­nate from both per­ma­nent (the color of the facade of the John D. O’Bryant African-​​American Insti­tute) and tem­po­rary (the color of the blue sky) sources. The greenish color cor­re­lates to that of a nearby tree.

The inter­play between the design’s colors and those of its sur­round­ings is a metaphor for North­eastern, Rich said, pointing to the university’s “diverse stu­dent body and its inter­ac­tion with its more per­ma­nent phys­ical, aca­d­emic and intel­lec­tual structures.”

Rich is curious to see how inter­pre­ta­tions of the design shift over time. “The colors around the design might change, the weather might change, the sun angle might change,” he said. “I work abstractly because I like the fact that it’s not easy to under­stand, it’s not easy to make sense of. I like that mystery.”