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ISSUE 119 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/12/2006

Senior art stirs

By Clare Kennedy
Arts Editor

Friday, May 12, 2006

This Sunday more than 630 people jammed into Flaten Art Museum to honor the second half of the Senior Art Show, exceeding the first opening's record-breaking attendance.

Compared to the last exhibition, this show is equally impressive and engaging. In contrast, there is a more pronounced emphasis on technology. Many pieces involve video and digital media. For this reason, prolonged visits to Flaten's smaller portion, which house the bulk of these pieces, can be over-stimulating.

One piece that got a lot of attention was Daniel Robert's moody video, “Aubade,” starring himself and Eve Sundberg '07. Certainly one of the most interesting works in the show, the narrative centers on unseen monsters, a failed love relationship and what seem to be ritually killed animals.

Chris Schommer's video, ”Rabbit Logic,” provided a fitting counterpoint to “Aubade.” Filmed over the course of hours, the two parallel videos track Schommer and a pet rabbit from a bird's-eye view, each in a contrived environment with food and toys (or art supplies) on a white sheet of paper.

The show also excelled in digital animation with Mang Vang's “Donovan of Raven Hill,” with its pencil animation, in turns rough and delicate, and Matt Fedde's piece, “The Three Sillies,” a bedtime story narrated by Fedde's father with stick figures cavorting in a back drop of collaged, two-tone photos.

Two pieces combined video and photographic projection with uneven, textured surfaces to great effect. Emily Peterson's “Conservation” projects photos of artfully arranged grasses, sticks, etc. at rapid fire over a box filled with dirt. Helga Mendoza-Rojas’ piece, “Kiss the Art Away,” shows a video of town scenes on a beautiful blue glass mosaic, an artwork in itself with loopy shapes resembling Arabic script.

All this is not to say that pieces done in traditional media are lacking. The photography in this show was very strong, particularly Isaac Kidder's monumental installations, with skillful black and white photos arranged inside of suspended steel rims or on undulating steel waves.

Also worth notice are two arresting series of color photos. Joe May's gorgeous series focuses on desolate, junked cars. The vivid subjects of Margot Dedrick's series resemble aerial views of desert landscape, but are actually decaying food products, from miso to oatmeal to red bean paste.

Also notable are Linnea Bjerknes' “Byo-Bu,”a folding screen with a gorgeous self-portrait, and Dane Hamann's vigorously textured abstracts depicting the soot, grime and old newspapers that give a city character, rather than its soaring skylines.

Some of the best works in the show were installations with a somewhat voyeuristic character. As soon as you can, go and see Whitney Hall's intriguing installation, “Revival” which invites the viewer to peer at the unreachable past through a series of key-holes.

Another good piece was Britta Schroeter's quilted map of Northfield made of lace and assorted fabrics, accompanied by view finders, which feature random pictures of domestic life in residents' homes.

In the open gallery, see the whimsical “Flight Revolutionized” by Caitlin Rose, which features six birds fitted with parachutes drifting down from the ceiling, and Sara Brouwer's “Dutch Butts,” a series of mottled clay torsos which celebrate age, wisdom and cellulite.

The show closes on Wednesday, May 17, so go see this phenomenal exhibition and say your good-byes before it's too late.

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