Personal Stories: A Review of the Art Department Faculty & Staff Exhibition

Are you curious about what an artist finds inspiration in? Or what is the point of visual art anyway?

Currently on display in Meredith’s Frankie G. Weems Art Gallery in Gaddy-Hamrick is an exhibition of the work created by 19 members of the faculty and staff of the art department in a variety of media. Each piece represents a personal story of its creator, and causes you to reflect on the challenges and significance of life.

A striking piece was that of Mark Iwinski called Opus Magnum. It is a wood block white ink image of the center portion of a tree on hand made indigo kenshi paper. The cross-shaped canvas is of the richest, deepest indigo. The delicate, thin paper is in high contrast with the ghostly white ink image of the center cut of a 150-year-old tree. I was struck by the irony of a 150-year-old tree reduced to a tissue-like piece of paper to create art. Did the cross-like structure suggest the tree was sacrificed for art? For urban expansion? Will the art created by the loss of the tree last 150 years? I thought about all the years of history that tree had been a silent witness to, and now all that was left was this ghostly image.

A work which proved to be both repellant and attractive simultaneously was that of Carrie Alter, called Appendage. It is a graphite drawing on banana paper of an intestine-like form. The structure intertwines, overlaps itself, and has three bulbous projections. The bulbous projection on top resembles a humanoid in profile. In its ugliness, I found fascination. My eyes were drawn over and around, through twists and turns, searching for meaning. The closer I looked trying to understand it, the more I reflected on the experience of looking. I grew comfortable with not knowing what it was, and reflected on what it meant to me. The lack of linear progression, the overlapping, twisting, backtracking is a lot like our journey through life. The bumpy, tangled mess leads us somewhere. At the end of it all we wind up on top, owning all our experiences, whether they are light or dark, ugly or beautiful. Ultimately, they are uniquely ours, and that is what creates meaning.

This exhibition closes on Sunday, October 1, 2017. For more information, check out the Art Department’s Gallery Exhibition page.

—By Annie Poslusny,’19,  an Art History major and Studio Art minor. She is currently a publicity and programming intern at Meredith College Galleries.

Melyssa Allen

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