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Faculty weave impressive exhibit

PHOTO COURTESY — ALEX DIVINCENZOWhether you’re looking to kill some time before class, contemplate art that isn’t on a canvas, or get lost in a wonderland of expressive creativity, the CVPA gallery is the place to go.

Though small, the gallery currently holds 33 pieces by seven different artists: Alan Thompson, Charlotte Hamlin, Deborah Carlson, Hayami Arakawa, James Lawton, Rebecca Hutchinson, and Susan Hamlet.

The works included in the exhibit are diverse, ranging from pins, bracelets, and earrings to ceramic, wooden, and silken works. The variety of mediums and subjects keeps the exhibit interesting and guarantees that each visitor will find something that caters to their artistic taste.

Commanding attention at the front of the gallery is a wooden chair by Hayami Arakawa. This is no ordinary chair—not only does it hang from the ceiling, but it is also labeled as a hollow chair.  The work is made up of small pieces of wood that allow one to see through the chair’s structure, serving as more of an outline of the chair’s general shape.

Angela Chouinard, a junior art education major who works as a gallery guard, said that the hollow chair was her favorite piece.

“I think it transforms the gallery and uses it in a different way,” she said. “It impacts the way you look at the other works...It’s not just a chair.”

The most impressive series of works was done by Alan Thompson, who specializes in jewelry-making. On the back wall of the gallery, eight brooches were mounted that he had made from the second grade to 2010 (the 2010 brooch had been temporarily removed when I visited). They were displayed linearly in a sort of timeline.

Thompson’s brooches were very well-designed and interesting, but what made the exhibit the most striking and moving was a letter he had typed up and hung on the wall alongside the display. The letter discussed a myriad of relatively personal topics, from his discovery of jewelry making “after toying with sculpture, photography, psychology, astronomy, and philosophy,” to the loss of his mother while he was in graduate school.

Also intriguing are the works of Susan Hamlet, another jewelry artist whose works are functional, but extremely intricate. The gallery includes pieces that show her versatility in her field, displaying rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and brooches all side by side.

What is amazing about Hamlet’s work is its accurate complexity. Many of her works include small renditions of objects that are difficult to realistically portray let alone at a size that will fit into a brooch with four other objects. She replicates in startling detail the movement of rope, curtains, weaved fabric, ribbon, and flags, as well as empty pocket watches, birds, and wind chimes.

One of Hamlet’s pieces, “Collage,” is indeed a fascinating collision of objects. The items included in the work have been inter-connected and laid on top of one another in such a fashion that one can easily become lost in the task of discerning each individual object. The chain that was meant to hold the bracelet together instead dances around the objects, which are so well connected to one another that no chain is necessary.

Also fascinating was the singular work of Charlotte Hamlin, which was inspired by a New York Times interview in which Laura Linney said that growing old was “truly a privilege.” Thus, the artist’s work is titled “The Privilege of Aging,” and is made up of a roll of linen that becomes increasingly narrow as it goes from left to right across a white wooden table, whose upper surface is made of tracing paper. Everything in the piece is white, including the cluster of strings that hangs over the right side of the table.

Hamlin said in the note hung beside the display that she was interested in the “ever-widening array of losses” that comes with aging, accompanied by “a tangential and complementary richness [that] is gained from the experience.”

All in all, the CVPA Artisanry Exhibition was an interesting, engaging experience.

The gallery is on the first floor of the CVPA building beside the Sodexo cart.

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