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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Mini Sandwiches in Smith

“There is a Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi in this Seemingly Simple Sandwich” combines the work of nine members of this semester’s ART-315 class who each brought vastly different styles and mediums to the exhibit. Despite showcasing works made with sound, video, painting, sculpture and even insects, this exhibit has a surprising unity.

Smith Gallery. Photograph by Marfa Prokhova.

“Our work had a lot of qualities that overlapped or just invaded the experience of other works,” Amy Tsui ’12 said. Tsui’s two pieces, “Tracing” and “Sectioning”, explored the human form with topographical lines or cuts.

“The work that I did was pretty rigorous,” Tsui said. “Lots of doing the same motion and thinking intensely about form. I was intrigued with being able to pull out a form that I thought of in 3D and place it on a 2D surface.”

Kitty corner from Tsui’s work was an installation by Jo Murray ’12, called “Natural Selection,” which presented various decorative boxes each containing bees, moths and even a praying mantis. Viewers were encouraged to explore the boxes and the velvet lined pillows showed the true beauty of creatures who are often considered disturbing.

Equally lovely and disturbing, Susanna Moller’s ’12’s series of watercolors titled “Don’t Stare” isolated different parts of the human body including a hand, foot and forearm as well as views of teeth and gums, contrasting beauty with decay.

The exhibition was well curated with a subtle east-west transition from color pieces into black and whites.
“I think they did a really good job of organizing the space, laying it out and not having it feel really cluttered,” Jeremy Chen, Art, said.

Engaging the space left clear by the two-dimensional works, Carly Riley ’13’s large wooden sculpture, “Stairs,” twisted the form of a spiral staircase into a bold organic shape.

“This semester I’ve been doing an architecture-as-art theme. I’ve been taking architectural objects and warping them into more abstract shapes,” Riley said.

Dani Radoshevich ’12 also explored architectural themes in her diptych “Window Refractions.”

“My pieces come from a bigger project that is meant to be a kind of visual deconstruction of perspectival space and depth,” Radoshevich said.

The strong geometry evident in Riley and Radoshevich’s pieces contrast the flowing lines of Christopher Squire’s ’13 fabric, liquid starch and pen installation which covers much of the west wall. His piece offered a smooth transition between the colored and black and white pieces and drew the viewer’s eyes around the entirety of the exhibition. Squier is a Graphics Editor for the S&B.

Also on the west wall was a PB speaker and vintage cassette player projecting “Outgoing Message”, an audio feedback loop by Clint Williamson ’13. His piece created a surreal atmosphere throughout the exhibit that highlighted the strange connections between the pieces.

“It’s interesting because it’s a cassette loop originally designed for answering machines,” Williamson said. “It’s rare to find an analogue form that will actually loop. It’s a pretty cheap, lo-fi way of recording an ambient landscape.”

Williamson’s audio piece meshed with the soundtrack from “Final Call/A Wake”, a video installation by Nic Wilson ’12.

“When both pieces are playing sound its a great auditory experience,” Williamson said.

Wilson’s piece also contrasts the participation inherent in “Natural Selection” by purposely alienating the viewer and exploring themes of inactivity.

“‘Final Call/A Wake’ is a pessimistic meditation on insularity, stagnation,” Wilson said. “The mundane activity recorded reinforces the overall thematic pointlessness contained within the piece while simultaneously highlighting the general failure of art to participate in life itself.”

Wilson’s installation is comprised of two televisions facing each other on the floor. Each recorded two hours of time which Wilson spent surfing the web but one video showed the images on his computer and the other recorded Wilson’s face as he gazed into the screen.

The overall show’s reception was very positive.

“Its amazing! I think that we have a class of incredibly talented artists,” Phyllis Frimpong ’12 said.
“Definitely an interesting range and mix of things and a very open theme,” Paul Dampier ’12 said.

“A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi” is an aptly titled show and successfully draws out connections between seemingly disparate works. Make sure to check it out next time you pass through the JRC.

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