Story by Yashowanto Ghosh
Photos courtesy of Yashowanto Ghosh
The Art of Looking, a solo show of the artist and ecologist Shilin Hora, opened in Aquinas College’s Art & Music Center Gallery with an afternoon reception on Tuesday, October 5.
The mid-week, daytime opening drew a different crowd than what you see at most other shows: At least four art classes, including the one your fearless reporter was taking that afternoon, walked through the show in its first hours. The artist spoke to us about her work, fielded questions all afternoon long, and was generous with details of her process.
Hora originally worked in printmaking—the show includes two prints—and made a lot of images of seeds and other “botanical litter-fall;” her own term for items shed by plants and collected by her from the ground. This led her to the idea of making artwork using pieces of her collection directly, as opposed to using drawings of those pieces. Thus she created the glass-front boxes with seeds suspended via Hora’s self-developed elastic glue in grids of coloured string. The artist pointed out two of the boxes in the show, “Love Song to Southwest Michigan” and “The Glory Seed,” as her own favourites.
Hore pointed out how the shadows of the seeds on the back walls of the boxes could also be read, like a language in its own right; she emphasized that the seeds in her artwork were viable—you could, if you wanted, take out a seeds out of one of her boxes, plant it, and grow a tree from it.
Other than the seed boxes and the prints, there are two large paintings, facing each other on the two walls, halfway down the gallery; both are paintings of trees of course. But the pieces I thought are the greatest treat are further down toward the end of the gallery: several boxes with the instruction, “open front to touch seeds.”
The show runs up to Friday, November 5, but will be closed from October 21 to October 24. Next up in the AMC Gallery—opening Wednesday, December 1—is the annual exhibition of the New Forms class.