Culture

Seven artists in search of form at the AMC

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Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of the AMC

The Aquinas College Art & Music Center’s last show of 2018, featuring artwork by the students taking New Forms this semester, opened on Wednesday, November 28, with the pieces having a curious thing in common:  Professor Dana Freeman, who is teaching the class, writes that her first rule was that traditional media forms were not allowed.

Each student selected one concept at the beginning of the class, and then worked on that concept all semester—which explains the depth of the seven pieces in the show.  And, with traditional media being out, each student also spent all semester selecting the medium—both material and technique—that would provide shape to that concept, and this explains the seven deeply effective nonce forms of the pieces in the show.

As you enter the show, the first piece you see is “Preserved Nostalgia” by Sophie Winks.  The piece consists of various children’s items from some years ago, all embedded in semi-transparent resin. The resin serves to both preserve the objects in it from the vagaries of time and obscure them from the visitor’s eyes.  

The next piece, Adam Bundy’s “Temptations,” includes a video, probably shot on a smartphone, showing a tug-of-war between a red string and a human wrist, where the string snares the wrist and pulls it toward the bottom of the screen, and the wrist pulls upward, trying to free itself from the string.  The wrist wins, but that becomes a minor detail, because the video plays on loop. The video is projected on the gallery wall, where it is surrounded by the same red string, and at the other end of the string is a basket where visitors have dropped pieces of paper on which they have recorded their own temptations.

On the other wall, opposite to “Temptations,” is a black-and-white video by Anna Johns.  The video shows woods, with a human figure popping up for moments at different spots among the trees, but there are several paper cartons hung between the projector and the wall, and the human figure’s face is always hidden by the shadow of one paper carton or another.

Farther down the wall is a piece by Katherine Duffrin consisting of two dioramas and two flat pieces.  The dioramas are of two rooms, identical in size and similarly furnished, but one neat and the other messy, thus exploring the interplay of an image and its negative.  

Next to it is Catherine Shaw’s piece on minimalism.  This too has two dioramas, one of a lavish home and the other of a simple one; a video plays on the wall behind the dioramas, where a couple have a minimalist home built.

The next piece, by Hemi Truax, says, “For my father, Jeffrey,” and consists of two ways of looking at the same objects—such as a skull—where one way, representing the father, uses metal, and the other way, representing the child, uses clay.  

And at the gallery’s end is Sierra Hawley’s “Searching for Comfort,” which alludes to the memory of the mother, as embodied in a quilt.

The show is open until Friday, December 14.  Go take a look if you have a chance, because the seven unique concepts and their unique realizations are worth it, and because, like each of its pieces, the show too is one-of-a-kind.

Yashowanto GhoshYashowanto Ghosh is a senior with a major in English with a writing emphasis and a minor in Japanese. Jasho is also an alumnus of Aquinas (B.A. German ’11, B.A. Communications ’17).

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