Art 500 Exhibition: Installation

Amidst the Sanctuary landscape, still bearing remnants of last weekend’s snow, are the thought-provoking installations from the independent art course, Art 500. Each of the projects has a unique relation to its surroundings, seamlessly fitting into the environment while also conveying a message. Therese Zemlin, the Art 500 instructor, said, “[The goal of the assignment was] to use natural…materials and objects to create a temporary piece that was in some way a response to their chosen site.” Although the foul weather had affected the timeline for the construction of the installations, this past Sunday the snow only added to the beauty of the installations, adding a further element of nature. Zemlin said, “The weather was completely uncooperative this year, which has made the pacing of the class a bit awkward, but the students came through.” All projects were created in a clearing lined on either side by immense, awe-inspiring evergreen trees, except for one piece of artwork that was at the top of the slope the Cross Country team calls Heartbreak Hill. The projects provide a visual, yet unusual sight for the cross-country runners and dog walkers who frequently roam the Sanctuary. Kelsey Lim ’10 carefully decorated an Italian-style glass window that balances upright between two trees. Lim wrote on the surface with an iridescent white marker filling the window panes with text and formulas she learned in her classes, in order to symbolize the way the material sometimes keeps us from “seeing what’s behind the window.” Lim said, “Ms. Zemlin gave me this great window, which I started using as my muse, I guess. I wanted to translate the idea that sometimes our structured education of books and lectures in a classroom can make us lose sight of the relevant and inhibit our view of the real world.” Zemlin said, “Kelsey’s window, with blackboard text, math formulas and physics diagrams brings the formal, interior space of the classroom to the exterior, open space of the outdoors.” Serena Gelb ’10 suspended her subtly colored, imaginative fabric-creatures on the trees. Gelb said, “The inspiration behind my piece was my imagination, things that are in your head and you let out in the environment of the Sanctuary.” Because Gelb used fabric as her primary material, the weather affected her artwork by “melting it into the trees.” Kaytlin Morris ’11 chose to incorporate nature into her installation by attaching large comic-style “thought-bubbles” to the trees in order to let us read their thoughts. Morris, as a huge comic book fan, really enjoyed the assignment, drawing inspiration from her favorite comic books for her “thought-bubbles.” Her trees all “talk” about global warming and worry for their future, questioning not only themselves, but also the viewers about the probability of their survival. Jennifer Gerald ’10, who created a large, multicolored spiderweb-like structure between two trees, said that instead of hoping that the viewers see something specific, she hoped “that people see something in [my piece] that means something to them. Then it really means a lot [to me].” The only project that was not in the clearing was one by Sam Poliquin ’10. Poliquin chose to create a sandbox-like structure in piles of mud at the top of Heartbreak Hill. Poliquin combined more “childish” components, such as a plastic bucket, with more intricate objects including pottery and a wreath filled with fall-tinted leaves. Poliquin said that he enjoyed incorporating objects he had already made before into his project. He said, “It was interesting to combine the kids’ toys with the adult art, [and] have them come together so you [can] really appreciate the element of the playground.”