By MacKenzie Brady
Student Life Editor
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Kohl Gallery had its opening reception for the current exhibition, “Intimate Generations.”
“Intimate Generations” features art from chanan delivuk, Roxana Alger Geffen, Aimee Gilmore, Khánh H. Lê, Kalen Na’il Roach, and Aaron Wax.
“[‘Intimate Generations’] bring[s] forth re-imagined, re-constructed family narratives, relationships, and identities that communicate an array of contradictory emotions,” said Kohl Gallery Director and Curator Tara Gladden in the show’s brochure.
The opening reception included artist talks by delivuk, Geffen, Lê, and Roach and dance performances by the students in Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance A. T. Moffett’s Dance Composition class.
“My work is a sort of extension piece,” delivuk said, explaining that she started it in 2017 when she asked her mother to start writing about heartbreak, and revisited the project recently.
Her work includes images from the journals her mother kept for her, footage of her mother’s heart surgery, and an audio component of her mother talking about her writings.
At the reception, delivuk added another aspect to her piece, in which she invited attendees to write letters about heartbreak and address them to themselves, someone who caused their heartbreak, etc.
The letter-writing aspect of the piece is still available to anyone who wants to write one. When the exhibition closes, she will mail out the letters.
After delivuk’s artist talk, Moffett’s students began performing their dance compositions. Each performance included two students who created dances in response to the work in the gallery. Students danced to work created by delivuk, Lê, Gilmore, and Geffen.
“The students visited the gallery and selected a work of art from the exhibit that spoke to them,” Moffett said about the process. “Tara gave a curator’s talk, discussing the overall theme and what drew her to the artists’ work.”
Students then created short compositions based on the artworks and skills they had learned thus far in the class.
“The goal of the project was for them to create a movement vocabulary particular to the art they selected to focus on,” she said. “They were also asked to design their dance spatially in a manner informed by the unique considerations of the gallery space. They got to play with gesture, scale, perspective, and proximity with the audience.”
The various dancers incorporated the gallery space in different ways — those who danced to delivuk’s work incorporated the heartbeats of the video and the dance into their performance, the dancers incorporated the bench in front of Lê’s pieces into theirs, etc.
Seniors Caitlyn Creasy and Emily Kreider, who created their dance in response to Geffen’s sculptures, mimicked their positions, covering their faces with their hair, among other things.
After the four dance compositions, Geffen gave her artist talk, explaining the importance of dichotomy within her work and her reliance on found objects, which she tries to incorporate out of context or in an unusual way. Most of her found objects are from her grandmother’s attic, or are in some other way related to her family.
Lê, who paints portraits of his family, discussed the importance of scrapbooking and immigrants’ stories in his process. He talked about his family’s own immigration story from Vietnam to the United States, and the important role it has played in his works.
“I am a bedazzler,” he said, referring to the acrylic jewels he uses in the background of his pieces. “Most of my work deals with a lot of jewels.”
Roach works primarily with old family photographs, most of which were taken by other members of his family — primarily his father. In his artist talk, he explained his fascination with using the surface of the image itself to reimage photographs and the people within them.
“How far can I manipulate these images and in doing so, how can I manipulate you?” he said.
Gilmore, who was unable to attend the reception, uses breast milk in her pieces to explore motherhood.
“By focusing on the labor of motherhood through familiar objects and imagery, Gilmore viscerally relates the abstract nature of motherhood to the unpredictable nature of artmaking,” she said in her artist statement.
Wax, who was also absent from the reception, explores his grandfather’s life in his works. Using his grandfather’s photographs, documents, and saved objects as a framework, he reconstructs his grandfather’s history as a Polish Jewish immigrant who moved to the United States just before the start of World War II.
“Due to the inconsistencies and limitations within my family’s memory I will never be able to create an accurate representation of my grandfather’s life, but I construct and reimagine narrative based on his past,” Wax said in his artist statement.
“Intimate Generations” will be exhibited in Kohl Gallery until Feb. 29.