Arts & Culture

Exhibition features diverse faculty artists

By
Contributing Writer
Friday, January 28, 2011

Faculty Triennial 2010, a gallery exhibition which includes the work of 24 faculty members, is now on display in the David Winton Bell Gallery.  The show provides an opportunity for viewers to experience a mix of different art forms, as it features faculty artists from the departments of Visual Art, Modern Culture and Media and Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. The inclusion of literary arts and multimedia and electronic experiments culminates in a unique and varied blend of artistic work.

The exhibition has been on display in the David Winton Bell Gallery at List Art Center since Dec. 3 and started with an “experimental performance” by Butch Rovan and Lucky Leone, according to a Brown press release. It has now reopened after the break and will be open until Feb. 13.

The exhibition features many types of media, including digital videos, oil paintings and photographs, providing an excellent insight into the work of different kinds of artists and the media they choose to employ. But the variety also leads to incoherence within the exhibition. There seems to be little communication between the artists, resulting in a cacophony of clashing voices.  

Upon first entering the exhibition, three photographs taken by Postdoctoral Fellow in Music Betsey Biggs at an abandoned amusement park are on display. In particular, one photograph of a broken roller coaster called to mind a cold ghost town and was chillingly fascinating.

Biggs enhanced the viewing experience of her photos by including audio tracks. One such track repeatedly said, “Wat now” — the words written on the ground in one of the pictures — reinforcing the supernatural sensation in a haunting way. Biggs’ work was an intriguing and distinct addition to the show as a result.

Another interesting piece was Professor of English Forrest Gander’s “A Border History: Rattlesnakes and Light,” an audio poem accompanied by music and video footage of the Chihuahuan Desert. The natural beauty and wildlife of the U.S.-Mexico border provided a visual interpretation of Gander’s poem. But the music was a strange choice, with the Latin American beats disrupting the illusion of being in the calm atmosphere of the desert.

A highlight of the exhibition was Associate Professor of Music Todd Winkler’s “Glint,” which incorporated audio, video and interactive software. This work leads the viewer into a black room with a three-screen video installment that makes the walls look like water shining in the sun. As the participant steps into the room, images of his or her body appear on the wall in different colors and forms. The room simultaneously relaxes and awakens the curiosity of the viewer.  

Professor of Art Wendy Edwards’ “Vase I” and “Vase II,” as well as Assistant Professor of Modern Culture and Media Studies Mark Tribe’s “The New Revolution,” were not particularly striking. Edwards’ oil-on-board paintings were overly simplistic, with weak color schemes and vague definition. Tribe’s piece of art was a green screen paper, which attempted to invite the spectator to create his or her own projects, but at the end of the day appeared to be only a big green piece of paper.

Faculty Triennial 2010 will organize a second event Feb. 11 with several live performances, according to a Brown press release. The exhibition provides visitors with a unique opportunity to learn how Brown professors express themselves artistically. But ultimately, the exhibit’s lack of cohesion is overwhelming and detracts from the impact of the individual pieces.

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Three stars (out of five)