Have you ever wanted to time travel? Maybe go kick it with the cavemen, retake that 8 a.m. exam or get a glimpse of your future? Although this is all fabrication, I did experience something close to it.
On Oct. 31, I went to an art exhibition on campus in the Rowe Galleries. McColl Artist-In-Residence Liz Miller worked with the students in the mixed-media/print media class to create a project called “OBSOLESCENCE.”
The class was divided into three groups and given a prompt to create a mixed-media installation for the Rowe Gallery. The vision and focus was placed on the past, present and future. The instructors, Maja Godlewska and Erik Waterkotte, gave each group a task to portray a different period of time. The focused concepts consisted of biogeography, the disturbance of ecology, global warming and the destructive behavior of mankind. The purpose of the installation is to hopefully open the viewers’ eyes to the biosphere and the rest of the environment.
In regards to the objective of the assignment, Waterkotte stated: “We developed some themes around different ideas of past, present and future. In the gallery, part of the challenge of the students is to create artwork that also engages and directs the viewers.”
In addition, Godlewska said: “This semester, we had the opportunity to work with a visiting artist from the McColl Center For Art + Innovation, Liz Miller. We thought that this would be perfect for our mixed-media/print media class. The students will create something that will be three-dimensional, but it will involve a little bit of painting, print-media and immersive installation.”
The students that worked on the exhibit were Meredith Brown, Christina Carsley, Chauncey Carter, Melissa Curry, Ashley Dennis, Abe Ekren, Justin Hicks, Nicole Miller, Luke Russell, Julius Shumpert and Lily Xiong.
Walking into the exhibit, I was completely impressed. There were all types of cloths coming down from the ceiling. To my left was a sculpted cave coming out of the wall with attached cave hands. It was obvious to me that it was meant to signify one of the event’s themes: the past.
As I moved around, I couldn’t help but notice vibrant colors. The cloths hanging from the ceiling in that area were green and earthy. The wall was entirely covered with different colored paper. My intuition gave me the notion of the present. I felt that this section’s purpose was to show the beautiful aspects of our biosphere, such as vibrant-colored flowers, green vegetation and earthy soil. I got Poison Ivy vibes — pun intended for my “Batman” fans.
Turning my head, there was a shift in the art. There was no sign of vibrant colors and vegetation. The walls became gray and white with fading urban cities. The cloths consisted of tiny photographs and lights. In the middle of the floor was a pile of broken gadgets. I immediately picked up retro vibes and saw into the future. The message was loud and clear: our obsession with technology may be the destruction of our biosphere.
When talking about her vision, Miller stated: “I hope that the viewer walks away from my work seeing something in a new way. I think that not every viewer will get the same thing from the experience. Someone might walk in and might think it’s beautiful. Another might walk in and [it] might cause them to think about changes in the natural environment. But I hope that they have some response.”
The art exhibition was a great experience. I thought displaying concepts from the past, present and future was genius. It really opens your eyes to how society has shifted. The important components that stood out to me were the cavemen hands, the beautiful scene of Mother Nature and a glimpse of the destruction of our biosphere. I definitely love viewing art that makes you think. To keep it real with you, I had to ponder about the message behind the art, but I think that is the beauty of it all. Everyone has the freedom to form their own perspective and connect with art in a different way. I praise all who were involved in this project. Make sure to go and support the arts.