OBERLIN.-Trace Elements: New Work at Oberlin is the first exhibition devoted exclusively to the work of the Studio Art faculty at Oberlin College in more than 30 years. Featuring new works by artists Rian Brown, Johnny Coleman, Pipo Nguyen-duy, John Pearson, Sarah Schuster, and Nanette Yannuzzi-Macias, the exhibition opens Tuesday, October 18 in the museum’s John N. Stern and Ellen Johnson Galleries.
The new works (paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, sculpture, film, video and installations), though diverging in aesthetic and medium, are linked by their common investment in landscape and in nature. As is evident in the exhibition, the six artists are deeply engaged in envisioning nearby and far-away vistas, and they continue to isolate and incorporate pre-existent traces of nature in their visions of the worlds where they practice, teach, and live.
In Breadcrumbs, filmmaker Rian Brown retraces the steps of female existence by breaking down the life stages in a journey that maps a sense of home through the passages and metamorphoses that inform the progression of life. Painter
Sarah Schuster continues to explore the Origin of the Species and the act of representation in her Cultivations series, which feature roses, and in the highly finished renderings of sea creatures in Replicants. Pipo Nguyen-duy’s photographic series East of Eden and The Garden track the presence and absence of human activity within dramatically staged natural theaters rediscovered by the artist. John Pearson’s printed and painted works from the Yorkshire Series are regenerations that abstract the landscape as he orchestrates a transcendental spirituality through the rhythms exuded by the simplicity and seriality found within nature itself. Continuing a series of works dedicated to his late mother, Johnny Coleman’s A Promise of Blue in Green is a self-contained environment in the form of a playhouse built with materials from the landscape around him, which at the same time gestures toward the broader aesthetic of the African Diaspora. With her newly created works, The Hours, Unos Milagritos de la Vida, and Piano with Scenes from Life, Nanette Yannuzzi-Macias brings domesticity to life as she envelops her viewers in a space pulsating with the passage of time and littered with the sacrosanct remnants of the human body.
There will be a free public reception for the artists on Friday, October 21 from 5:00-7:00 pm. On Thursday, November 3, Jennie Hirsh, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Princeton University, will give a lecture on “Trace Elements” in Classroom 1 of the Art Building at 5:00 pm. Stephen D. Borys, the exhibition curator, will give a talk in the galleries on Tuesday, November 8 at 2:30 pm.
In conjunction with the exhibition Trace Elements, the Allen is presenting two performances of works by members of the contemporary music faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Oberlin Conservatory students will perform works by Lewis Nielson, Amelia Kaplan, Ross Feller, Jeffrey Mumford, and Tom Lopez. The Museum Notes: Focus on Faculty concerts will be held in the King Sculpture Court on Saturday, November 5 and December 3 at 2:00 pm.
The exhibition and catalogue have been organized by Stephen D. Borys, curator of western art, with the assistance of Jennie Hirsh (former Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art Department at Oberlin) and curatorial interns Susanna Newbury (OC'05) and Alexander Grogan (OC'O5).