The Faculty Exhibition: Finding Elsewhere is an exhibition of the bravery and faith of studio practices that unhinge notions of reality, that question one’s senses and physicality, and unveil illusions of truth and time. Held until November 10, the exhibition is curated by St. Mary’s College alumna Kate Pollasch ’10. The gallery is open Tuesday- Friday from 1-6 p.m., on Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and also available by appointment for class visits. A Panel Discussion with the artists will take place on Nov. 4 beginning at 4:45 p.m. There is no admittance fee to the gallery.
According to Pollasch, “SMCM is an incubator for mindfulness, for dynamic self-discovery and freedom, and for community building unlike most academic environments. As much as this exhibition is not about SMCM in specific ways, working with these six professors reminded me that while the exhibition is Finding Elsewhere, we are all oriented by the centralized anchor of SMCM.”
The six artists and St. Mary’s College professors in the exhibition, Tristan Cai, Sue Johnson, Giulia Piera Livi, Jessye McDowell, Carrie Patterson, and Lisa Scheer traverse a range of mediums from digital modeling, printmaking and artist books, to painting and installation. While their use of formal choices of composition, color, subject, light and more vary widely, common thread lines run through each artist, pulling individual practices into the warp and weft of a multicenter group exhibition.
Jessye McDowell works across a range of digital platforms to question the divide between nature and digital, between the “natural world” and the “virtual world.” The saturated surface, texture and sense of space within her work leaves one questioning; can you experience a place even if it isn’t tangible? In creating her 3D rendered work, McDowell samples surface textures and materials, such as fabrics, leaves, and natural patterns, and cascades them across the environment like a tangible skin in a slick hyper-gloss world.
Tristan Cai’s work also explores a chromatic composition of phantasmic saturation through digital platforms. Exhibiting two collections of works from A Celebration: The Origin of Life series, Cai’s research-based project unpacks scientific developments in evolution and addresses how knowledge and narratives of the facts of human studies are ripe with imagination, assumptions, and created truths. In his second body of work, Cai utilizes source images from San Diego Zoo’s chimpanzee shows in the 1970s, restaged primate cognitive study experiments, and scientific texts to destabilize the difference between science, circus and animal entertainment, and imagination.
Through a selection of works from multiple series, Carrie Patterson reorients perception and sight in a similar conceptual way to Cai’s interest in how we build our realities into states of source material and narratives. In Patterson’s Breton House LightBox, space and physicality are inversed. Each painting is based off 26 windows, representing what is seen within each window and populating that sight with weight, volume, and saturation. In Total Station, Patterson remembers the sensory and physical experience of Mulberry Fields in St. Mary’s County, both vertically and horizontally simultaneously. The Mistaken Identity series addresses the subject of what we choose to be concealed and revealed from public reception through twelve artworks made from her artists’ proofs between 2004-2014.
Lisa Scheer’s abstract sculptural practice elevates steel and aluminum to feel weightless in their forms that contort, tower, and arch outward in space. Scheer’s upward arching and swiftly shifting sculptural works defy their very titles, Gone, in their commanding and visually fluid physicality. For they are not gone, they are loyal to our presence in the gallery, frozen with poetic motion and harmonizing with light and shadows to create an environment charged with powerful vulnerability.
Giulia Piera Livi’s installation piece might appear strangely familiar, as if pulled from an existing domestic space and brought into the public. Yet, something is not exact, something creates a lingering sensation that this isn’t anywhere you have been before and the normative rules of engagement don’t withstand. What seems to be a utilitarian garden hose is re-routed to pour out pigment color across a floor, or what might be a functional seat cushion is perched dormant high on a wall. Livi constructs immersive installations that reside between the worlds of functionality, design, imagination, and points of memory.
Sue Johnson unpacks the deeply complex history of domesticity and its relation to gender, economics, and capitalism. Generated from an historical interest with the American Dream, post-World War II and the development of the modern housewife and consumer culture, Johnson creates a visual context for discussing when the American Dream became enmeshed in product purchases and material culture. The Room With A View of Infinity, is part of the Ready-Made Dream project in which a domestic ideal drapes across the gallery with trompe l’oeil believability. In this oversized modern interior, everything has its place and intentionality, and yet the façade reminds us, just as in our own lives, that goods and décor offer a one-dimensional sense of self-completion, of “living the dream.”
The mission of Boyden Gallery of St. Mary’s College of Maryland is to serve as an educational and cultural resource for students, faculty and staff of the College and the broader Southern Maryland community.
Boyden Gallery and the Fine Art Collection are guided by the conviction that engagement with visual art, media and culture is a key component of a liberal arts education. The Gallery promotes visual literacy, object-based learning and the understanding of visual art in its historic and cultural context through exhibitions, educational programs, interdisciplinary exploration, and community engagement.
For more information, contact the Boyden Gallery at (240) 895-4246 or 2nd floor of Montgomery Hall at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.. Boyden Gallery is located on the