The first and foremost that visitors will come to is
A native of
Having a lifelong interest in biology, chemistry and other physical sciences, Beckman displays several pieces he created that explore abstract concepts through the use of basic materials, such as wood, fabric, rope and sand.
The biggest of these is "No More," which takes up the center of the gallery.
Looking like a miniature version of a tarp-covered slag heap, complete with tires that look as if they're holding down the tarp, Beckman says of it, "I've carried the piece 'No More' around with me for quite some time.
Thus, for Beckman, this oddly shaped pile, playful in its relationship to scale, is sad and mournful like a strange funerary mound veiled in synthetic fabric.
"As the increase of foreign imports and the growth of the low-wage service industry in the U.S. demonstrates, we are already disconnected from the means of production for many, many things that we consume," he says. "And while human labor still serves as the foundation for the global economy in many sectors, especially in the developing world, it seems inevitable that even human-intensive labors, like mining, will someday be automated."
"I wanted it to show the different people you become in different situations and at different times in your life," says Thwing, an assistant professor at
And though her original concept was to create a room that would morph from one reality into another, she says that when she started to film it, she realized that she was recording herself creating art. So, she says, "I decided to turn the project into metaphors for the ways we feel when we are creating things."
Filmed in stop-motion, the artist appears as if framed within her own artwork, as the imagery moves from one vignette to another.
"Sometimes creating new work is hard and doesn't work, sometimes you make magic, sometimes you are waiting for something to happen, and sometimes you work so much you get lost," she says.
Thwing says she likes working with stop-motion because it requires a lot of experimentation, which leads to new work. "I tried countless types of reflective fabrics before I discovered that sequined fabric and a strong light source make the best water," she says in reference to one scene where she appears to be swimming in a tidal wave.
A soundtrack of prerecorded natural sounds creates a complementary backdrop to the imagery.
"Sound is key in creating a mood," Thwing says. "I probably spend as much time designing the sound as I do filming and editing. I am a big fan of using natural sounds, although I will often put unrelated sounds into the scenes."
That goes a long way in explaining why her installation, in her words, "attempts to reactivate pre-verbal memories in the viewer and reconnect the viewer to sensations which may have been buried, dismissed or neglected by consciousness.
"Memory is embedded in the body and nervous system, beyond language, logic and rational thought," Jaffe says. "They become stored as images, sensations and condensed accretions of multiple moments, fusion of internal sensations and impressions of the world outside of ourselves, fusions of multiple sources, of both animate and inanimate beings."
That's a fitting statement, but it likely won't stop even the most casual viewer from feeling like they are stepping into a surrealist painting upon entering this gallery.
Here, anthropomorphic sculptures resemble re-assigned body parts that fill the gallery with allegorical references to real-world concepts and the intellectual ruminations of the artist.
For example, in one corner, blue drop-shaped orbs that hang from the ceiling represent a "combination of tears and rain." Next to them hangs a fragment of a body stripped of everything except its core, and feet that look fossilized and cast in concrete. Jaffe describes all of it as "hanging fragments of memories that remain after all the unimportant events are forgotten."
Then there are two larger biomorphic pieces on the floor that look like larger-than-life scientific models of hair follicles and molecules, which Jaffe calls "Progeny" and "Doubling."
" 'Progeny' is in the front and deals with never knowing what becomes of that which you generate," she says. "We reproduce ourselves in ways that are unpredictable and mutated from its original intention."
"Doubling," which has a long shock of hair billowing from each side like pony tails, is about the myth of Narcissis. "If one looks down into the metal reflected surface of the base, one sees a distorted image of the double piece above, like a mirrored reflection in water," she says.
With their slick surfaces and subtle color gradations, the sculptural elements in this installation are beautifully crafted, making it one of the more sensual-looking exhibits to be seen at the
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