Weingart Gallery displays talents of Occidental faculty

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Author: Lena Smith

The background noise is the first obvious aspect of the art show currently on display in Weingart. Sound emanates from a collection of documentary trailers and short videos in a room to the left of the main gallery. A disembodied whirring echoes through the rooms. The noise comes from an art piece that makes use of the somewhat inexplicable, empty
fireplace in Weingart Gallery, filling it with a flickering, mechanical
fire. Michael Bizon, Gallery Director, created the piece himself: a rotating mechanical arm with plastic offshoots, which rubs against a thin piece of plastic. Light illuminates the arm and creates the illusion of fire. “Since I started working here, I’ve wanted someone to fill that space,” he said.

Bizon co-curated the show with Aandrea Stang, Director of Occidental Arts. Through the show, they hoped to expose Occidental students to their professors’ work. Faculty and staff of Occidental’s Art History and the Visual Arts department submitted pieces of their
own work for inclusion in the show. They were given no limitations on what they could submit. As a result, the art is of a wide variety of mediums and styles.

“Curating it was hard because the work is so disparate,” Bizon said. But
during the opening celebration, he heard several students comment that
the exhibit was incredibly cohesive.

Above Bizon’s fireplace hang the words “no cigarette” and a burn mark on otherwise blank paper, a piece by professor Linda Stark. On the opposite wall, a print of a drone by Professor Linda Lyke contrasts with the pattern of a cracked vase it is printed on. A three-piece collection by Professor Mary Beth Heffernan explores the functions of knives.The first words she spoke appear on two blades to the left. “When I focused on knives as the most elemental hand tool, it occurred to me that knives are very similar to words, in that they take large, undifferentiated things and parse them down into small, understandable, useful bits,” Heffernan said in an email.

Professors Broderick Fox, Allison de Fren and Manager of Digital Production Diana Keeler represent the Film and Media Studies section of the department. Fox contributed a poster and trailer for his documentary “The Skin I’m In,” an exploration of identity. Upon a second glance, there are five variations of Fox, including a feminine one, edited so they stand side-by-side on the poster. Keeler created a backdrop for a painting with sheet music she composed herself.

The exhibit will be up until Sept. 26, giving students ample time to see the range of talents and mediums of Occidental’s art department.

 

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