Art freezes after dark
Temperatures tonight are expected to drop into the teens. The slushy puddles around campus-sometimes known as pathways-will turn back into sheets of ice. At least one of your friends will take a serious spill. That's the weather that visual arts majors Ellen Kenney '03, Eric Legris '03, and Arnd Seibert '04 are hoping for, anyway. The three are opening a joint art show this evening, and such a climate will add the appropriate ambience to their event.
The exhibition is entitled "Freeze," and it is no accident that thermometer readings are related to this name. The opening is taking place outside, by the Visual Arts Center, from 9:00 p.m. until midnight tonight.
"Freeze," beyond fitting Maine's wintry weather, has its roots in a movement that began in late-1980s Britain. "Freeze is based on a 1988 exhibition by Damien Hirst that sparked the YBA [Young British Artists] movement in London," explained Seibert. "We are taking this title literally and therefore ridiculing it."
As for the somewhat unconventional setting for the exhibit, the artists say they are interested in high visibility on campus. "Freeze is meant to be a spectacle. The YBAs were known for their shameless self-promotion," said Kenney. "We're parodying that and also using it at the same time to challenge the seriousness of art on campus."
"It's also funny that we're picking up the YBA title, because YBAs are on their way out," said Seibert.
These YBAs-Young Bowdoin Artists-are on their way up, however. The art they will be displaying demonstrates great creativity and skill.
Legris's paintings are each about a yard long, with an abstract style that includes human figures. He explains that some of these "unintentionally incorporate the styles of Marcel Duchamp's 'Nude Descending a Staircase,' Pablo Picasso's beach nymph series, and Al Giocometti's drawing-based portraits."
Other work by Legris in "Freeze" include a series that he says "collage[s] human forms together in social gatherings with fauvist color and a high priority for composition."
Seibert's works include what he described as a "rather large painting that questions the current status of traditions of painting." His works draw the viewer in with their lavish use of color. Though he kept the details shrouded in mystery, Seibert also promised, rather mysteriously, that his show would include "a Xerox of unprecedented size."
Kenney's works include painted wooden cutouts ranging from approximately one to five feet tall, inspired by images she found online. "I'm intrigued by the internet. It showcases people's exhibitionist tendencies," said Kenney. On the other hand, she contended that posting pictures on the Internet "doesn't take a lot of risk because they're really very anonymous." Kenney's works explore this dual mentality, depicting people in unusual poses, but without enough detail to make them painted individually recognizable.
Kenney, Legris, and Seibert are very grateful to the people who have helped make the show possible. They "thank SAFC [Student Activities Fee Committee] and Art Club for their generous support and a shoulder to cry on," said Seibert.
Mike Ngo '04, who has viewed the art during its development, has high hopes for the show. "I think the art is going to be very engaging," he said.
Kenney emphasized that they want the show to be fun. "At openings no one ever talks about art anyway, so we're just throwing a party," she added. And you're invited-just don't forget your mittens.