The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

One step forward, two steps sideways

This past Tuesday, Caleb Neubauer ’13 premiered his latest exhibit: “Scaling Sideways.” Neubauer, no newbie to displaying his work, has had three exhibits prior to “Scaling Sideways,” but this particular show is distinct from his others. Although Neubauer states that “abstract art is not usually my arena,” each of his pieces within “Scaling Sideways” are at first difficult to decipher. His exhibit encompasses various media, from scroll-like tablets to trace monotypes to video frames, each seemingly only united by their sideways scale. There is, however, much more behind the surface.

“I was compelled by mark-making and the ever-evolving need to find a place between a musical and visual urge. It has been a driving force in my work in the past year,” Neubauer said.

Following his desire to fuse both music and visual art, Neubauer put his musical material onto paper. For one of his pieces, he used a trace monotype, a process that involves inking a plate and placing a sheet of paper on top of the inky surface. After applying a pen and pencil to the back of the paper, the sheets pick up the motions of the utensil and they appear on the sheet after it is removed from the tablet. Neubauer twisted this fairly popular form of print-making by using the mandolin guitar as his art utensil; he pressed his mandolin onto a sheet of paper as he strummed it. This was able to record the movement and action of playing his instrument. Another piece involved playing piano on it to continue the theme of musicality on paper.

“I wanted a different way to record music and sound not in an audio file,” Neubauer said.

Similarly, another one of his scrolls contains lyrics and the movement of a song that Neubauer has only played once. In this way, no one has heard the song except the scroll, thus creating music that has largely only been experienced on paper rather than to an audience, or in an audio file.

Neubauer’s exhibit is a result of his post baccalaureate fellow in studio art, a program put together by the art department to allow one student to experience being a full-time artist. This ninth semester program allows for a stipend and materials budget, as well as a private studio space. The title “Scaling Sideways” connects to his feelings on this fellowship.

“To scale can also mean to ascend, and so to scale sideways would be a contradiction. This fellowship could be seen as a potential culmination, but it more so feels like a complete new path. A friend and I explained it as, you have a flashlight, and you’re able to see singular things, like a door or a wall, but not the entire art arena,” Neubauer said.

Next semester, Neubauer will be continuing his artistic pursuits within Grinnell, working with Faulconer Gallery—an act that will allow him to scale sideways in yet a different direction.

Photo by Aaron Juarez.
Neubauer included a guestbook for his exhibition. Photo by Aaron Juarez.
Students explore the horizontal trace monotypes. Photo by Aaron Juarez.
Students explore the horizontal trace monotypes. Photo by Aaron Juarez.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *