For the last few weeks of the semester, the De Pree Art Center is featuring a collection of senior pieces in the exhibit “Out of Touch”.
Art majors Saem Cho, Carolyn Ellis, Julia Hines, Hannah Jacobs and Brianne Munch have all contributed to the exhibition, centering their pieces around the same theme.
To quote the synopsis behind their exhibition: “through a variety of approaches, we look into the simplicity and excess of human form and human essence at the core.”
In regards to the actual pieces, they are all refreshingly creepy.
The senior artists did not limit themselves to the most standard of materials or “floweriest” of designs, embracing the creation of their rather eerie works with materials as novel and non-normative as beeswax and bones.
Yet all the pieces are unnerving in their own ways.
The film piece entitled “Coded Paths” by Ellis, features scenes of cycling, computing code and a drive through the rain.
The dialogue of her film discusses how the basic rights and chain of events of one person’s life can be completely different from those of another person in a very similar situation, as if our lives were somehow coded pathways beyond our control.
Cho’s piece “Tal” features the upper half of a mask covered in pale strings, many extra-long string segments hanging loosely from the mask.
With the way the empty eyes of the mask seem to look at you and how even the slightest breath causes the strings to sway, it is almost as if the mask itself is floating in the air.
One of my favorite pieces is “As I Drag” by Munch, which features a large pile of cloth and linens decorated with bones and the skull of a large mammal at the very top.
The way the softly colored ruffles and fabric layers seem to flow and roll away from the skull makes it almost seem like the skull itself is wearing a large, stout wedding gown.
Walking through the exhibit, patrons can truly feel an unexpected vibe of discomfort, which is exactly the point of this exhibit.
The exhibit is not uncomfortable in that the pieces are bad but in a way that they seem like they could jump out at you at any moment.
This sense of unease allows the ideas of both simplicity and excess to take center stage as visitors view the art pieces.
In their synopsis, the artists explain that “in our exploration of the figure, we search for comfort, satisfaction and belonging,” which is almost ironic in comparison to the vibes the pieces give off. The contrast makes their message stronger, though.
I thoroughly enjoyed the creepy and eerie atmosphere of the exhibition, whether or not it was intentional.
Here’s to wishing the senior artists continued success in creating such impressively uncomfortable art pieces as they go off into the world. It seems that they have all the fuel they’ll need to do so. After all, “the deeper we look, the more we find that we are out of touch.”