Kohl Gallery’s first exhibition of the year

edited.signsystems-opening-9By MacKenzie Brady

Student Life Editor

From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, the group exhibition “\\\Sign Systems///” will be on display in Kohl Gallery.

This exhibition, curated by Tara Gladden — Kohl Gallery’s new Director and Curator — features work from Corinne Beardsley, Jordan Deal, Kristy Deetz, Hedieh Ilchi, Robin Kang, Linling Lu, Jonathan Sims, and Victor FM Torres.

“‘\\\Sign Systems///’ explores the mythic, spiritual, and transcendent nature of signs and symbols in art and culture, drawing inspiration from a rich tapestry of historic time periods and art movements from prehistoric petroglyphs to the present,” Gladden wrote in the pamphlet for the exhibition.

“[The exhibition] offers a glimpse into the ethos of a new generation of contemporary ‘myth makers,’” she said.

At the show’s opening on Oct. 15, exhibiting artist Corinne Beardsley gave an artist talk, discussing the methodology and meaning behind her sculptures.

“I try to connect material, process, and concept,” Beardsley said, explaining how she draws and digs her figures out of clay, posing them in positions based on her own body or a feeling.

According to the pamphlet for the exhibition, her nine sculptures in Kohl, together titled “Archeology Fragments,” are “primitive finger drawings that act as records of touch, memory, and identity.”

In her artist talk, she explained that her figures were meant to be post-apocalyptic, playing on a want for discovery.

“That these are made with touch is really important,” she said, explaining that they were a record of the self and of touch.

Beardsley was not just interested in the meaning of her sculptures, but also of the foam they rested on.

“[The foam is a] very soft and fleshy backdrop,” she said.

Beardsley’s advice for students in the room: “play.”

“Play is a great place to allow yourself to be more honest,” she said.

Other works displayed in the show included Deal’s large sculpture, hung from the ceiling in the middle of the gallery.

“Deal’s sculptures consist of assemblages of found and recycled materials,” the pamphlet says.“His chosen materials are filled with metaphorical and associative meaning that bring forth a systematic form of material poetry.”

The piece in the exhibition incorporated wood, fur, sand, and an array of other materials.

Deetz’s three-painting series, together titled “Through the Veil,” is a study of fabric and, according to the pamphlet, “good-humoredly deconstruct imagery from pop, outsider, and high culture to create new ‘spaces’ of meaning.”

“The paintings use dark humor, visual puns, symbols and metaphors, moments of silence, art historical allusions, cultural collisions, and spiritual conundrums to play with style and pictorial/formal construction,” the pamphlet said.

Ilchi’s four paintings play off of traditional maps and satellite imagery to explore the concepts of boundaries.

According to the pamphlet, Ilchi’s paintings utilize chance and control “to create enigmatic environments where fluid and physical transgressions of paint meet the precisions of the hand.”

Lu, the final painter featured in the exhibition, created three circle paintings.

“Circles inspired by one hundred melodies of solitude as a reunion of today and yesterday awaken ancient spirituality,” the pamphlet said.

Kang’s three tapestries were hand-woven with the help of a digitally operated Jacquard hand loom.

“The juxtaposition of textiles with electronics open an interesting conversation of reconciling the old with the new, traditions with new possibilities, as well as the relationship between textiles, information systems, language, and memory,” the pamphlet said of her work.

Sims’s piece, “An Invocation for Confronting Enemies of the Self,” is a light instillation enclosed behind black curtains to prevent it from being obscured by the rest of the light in Kohl that used different colored lights and geometric shapes to project images on the walls.

“Though the symbols and designs themselves are without discrete semantic meaning, within this space they become an invocation particular to his own experience: it is a request for power to confront internal fears and anxieties,” the pamphlet said.

The final work in the exhibition, “Syllabary” by Torres, is a print and audio work.

“Each symbol corresponds to a phoneme and can be used to create vocal compositions,” the pamphlet said of his work.

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