Devon’s Pick of the Week

Welcome to Devon’s Pick of the Week!

This page is devoted to a post series I am conducting for the Tufts University Art Gallery.  Each week, I choose an object/piece of artwork on display to post on Facebook.  In this way, I publicize not only the gallery’s exhibitions, but also individual pieces I particularly like.  Please note that these posts are separate from either my current or my archived blog and therefore will not included under “recent posts.”  Indeed, they are only found on this page, posted in reverse chronological order.  I may or may not continue this project elsewhere after I finish working at the Art Gallery, but for now please enjoy!

Each post has an “original posting date,” from when it was originally posted on The Tufts University Art Gallery’s Facebook Page.  The Gallery itself is located on the Tufts’ Medford campus, in the Aidekman Art Center (40 Talbot Avenue).  Please visit their website for more information about their exhibitions and programming.

Devon’s Pick of the Week: 

– Summer Hiatus –

In God We Trust, 2012

Originally posted: March 27, 2013

Currently on display in the Tisch Gallery is the exhibition Illuminated Geographies: Pakistani Miaturist Practice in the Wake of the Global Turn. This exhibition features four artists, all trained at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan in the technique of miniaturist painting. These artists all bring a unique spin to the style, which is marked by meticulous and repetitive details.

One of these artists, Ambreen Butt, works traditionally with shredded paper. Using this medium, she re-organizes the shreds to form new patterns and images to demonstrate the importance that we as a society place on text, by subverting it and transforming its role into that of aesthetic. One example is of her piece In God We Trust, wherein she utilized shredded US dollar bills, purchased from the US Treasury, to reconstruct a dollar bill on a grand scale. In this way, she turns the utilitarian purpose of currency into something to be enjoyed for its simple beauty. It demonstrates how much emphasis we place on our dollar bills, and yet never stop to notice the beauty in its design.


Stacey Steers: Night Hunter 

Originally posted: February 5, 2013

An old house sits in the middle of a dark wood. A woman lives inside; quiet and unassuming. Yet soon, her world turns upside down as the dark, evil of the surrounding nature infiltrates her home, attacking her in her domain. Snakes, egs hatching humongous winged creatures, bugs, and overgrowth all break through, threatening to swallow up her whole life. What follows is a tale of dark struggle, which eventually results in the woman taking control and bending the creatures to her will- a triumph of feminism and humanity over nature.

This is but one take on Stacey Steer’s open narrative film, “Night Hunter”- a ‘hand-made’ film utilizing collages made from images of actress Lillian Gish from throughout her career in silent film acting. What is particularly striking about the film is the colour palette (red is juxtaposed over a black and white aesthetic), as well as the soundtrack- commissioned especially for this film. At 15 min, 30 sec long, it’s a real experience to view. “Night Hunter” will be on display until April 21, 2013.


Photo of: To Life, Arava
Desert, Israel 1999.

Originally posted December 13, 2012.

Australian artist Andrew Rogers has spent the last 24 years reviving the ancient engineering marvel of geoglyphs and petroglyphs. His first project, aptly titled “To Life, Arava, was completed in 1999. This structure is literally the Hebrew word “Chai,” meaning “To Life.” After its completion, a ritual was performed, created by Rogers and starring 42 pregnant, partially nude women, to reinforce the motif. Since this piece, Rogers has traveled the world. His 48 structures are currently spread throughout 13 countries and all 7 continents! All of his works utilize local resources and involve collaboration with locals and officials in all levels of government. The photographs on exhibition in the Art Gallery’s Remis Sculpture Court were all either taken or commissioned by Rogers. The exhibition ends on December 16th, so hurry in this weekend!

Untitled: Minot Junction HWY 23

Originally posted: December 7, 2012

In K. Tyler’s “A Sense of Place” (currently showing in the MFA Thesis Exhibition in the Koppelman Gallery), Katie considers the transitional nature of her grandmother’s hometown- New Town, North Dakota. This town, founded as a rehousing project for the displaced from the nearby dam project, is continually in a state of change, due to the economic boom in which it finds itself. As such, Untitled: Minot Junction HWY 23 is a single-point perspective of the main highway that serves as the lifeblood of the community. This highway, crossing the encroaching water on its own dam as it continues on towards the horizon, serves to me as a stark reminder of the shared history that the town faces as it moves into its uncertain future.

They’ve Never Tried so Hard, Looked so Long

Originally posted November 29, 2012

Opening tonight at 6 pm in the Koppelman Gallery is this year’s MFA Thesis Exhibition, with artists Rebecca Wallach and K. Tyler. Both artists consider the narrative of nostalgia, from the viewpoint of their grandmother looking back. Rebecca Wallach’s work, drawings in ink and gouache, is especially intriguing. Her work depicts active senior citizens, often in the context of what one might of younger people. In particular, “They’ve Never Looked so Long…” depicts a group of seniors listening intently to another senior, as one would expect of a gaggle of kindergardners. This creates an interesting dynamic of vibrance and age, combined with nostalgic undertones epitomized by the patterning of the clothing the seniors wear; patterns taken from Rebecca’s grandmother’s wardrobe. The effect is simultaneously looking backward and forward, through all the lives of the individuals depicted. The MFA Thesis Exhibition is on display until December 16th.

Psalterium, Graecum, Arabicum, Chaldeum

Originally Posted November 16, 2012

On loan from the Boston Public Library’s collection of rare books is a polyglot text, or text written in many languages. This particular text was dedicated to Pope Leo X, and includes a narrative of Christopher Columbus’ second voyage as marginal commentary of Psalm 19. Its significance arises because it is one of the first printings of a text with both Hebrew and Arabic characters, which were a challenge for the printmakers. Additionally, few copies of this text remain, as they were destroyed by order of the Genoa Senate. This copy can be seen in the Gallery’s exhibit: “Global Flows” for one more weekend before it closes on November 18th.

Colossal AcornHead

Originally Posted November 15, 2012

In the raised garden bed by the Tisch Library is a rather interesting sculpture, created by artist Leslie Fry. Combining man-made and natural materials, she creates blends of the human and natural world. Drawn from Mesopotamian motifs, Colossal Acornhead looks up from its acorn eyes to the tree that appears to have spawned it, yearning to become reconnected. As Fry states “[It] is a good reminder of our essential connectedness.” Acornhead will be on display outside of Tisch Library until May 2013.

Antarctic Village-No Borders (Video Projection of Project)

Originally Posted November 1, 2012

Diongenes of Sinope is believed to have once said in circa 412 BCE, that “I am a citizen of the world,” a sentiment shared by the Ortas. In 2007, they traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula and created a “village,” made specifically to be temporary through the use of tents.  Each tent was covered with all the flags of the UN.  The strong winds caught the flimsy material, demonstrating the plight of migrants in all countries.  It embodies the Ortas’ desire for an interdependent humanity, stripped of artificial national borders and the threat of military action. This bold project was the impetus for their newest project on human rights: the Antarctic World Passport Project.  For more information on this newest Orta initiative, visit their exhibit at the Tufts Art Gallery!

Hortirecycling Enterprise- Processing Unit

Originally Posted October 18, 2012

Ever attend a Farmer’s Market and been shocked at the sheer amount of leftover food being thrown away? Artists Lucy and Jorge Orta have, and from that experience they began a new project, which they title Hortirecycling. This “unit,” like their other works in the exhibit “Food, Water, Life” is not only aesthetic, but intended to functional as well. This particular sculpture was used as a mobile kitchen at one of their many famous dinner events. Come visit the gallery to learn more about Hortirecycling and other initiatives begun by Lucy and Jorge Orta!

Ortawater- Fluviale Intervention Unit

Originally Posted October 25, 2012

Hortirecycling is not the only project that the Orta’s have conducted.  In 2005, the Orta’s exhibited in Venice, and to show the functionality of their pieces, used one of their sculptures to actually purify water from Venice’s notoriously polluted Grand Canal.  They even gave out free bottles of their “Ortawater” to the onlookers.  This sculpture, the Fluviale Intervention Unit, is no longer functional, but has been given over to its aesthetic nature in the exhibit Food, Water, Life.  Made of piping, bottles, and even a canoe constructed out of Canadian wood, this sculpture bridges the functionality of water purification with that of its use for transportation.

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