Thursday, October 6, 2016

STUDENT PICKS: Nearing the Tipping Point

Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Ellen Sulser '18 discusses her show "Nearing the Tipping Point: Artistic Exploration of Environmental Issues" which will be on view FRIDAY, October 7 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you there!

Mel Chin. American, born 1951. Revival Ramp, 1996. Hard-ground etching, soft-ground etching, engraving, photo etching and lithograph on cream-colored Asian paper. Purchased with the gift of the Fred Bergfors and Margaret Sandberg Foundation.

T­­hroughout the 20th century, art and science have been considered at odds with each other, each trying to embody opposite ends of the human experience, object and subjectivity. This divide is, however, a harmful and false dichotomy. By separating facts from their original emotional context scientists rob their data and stories of a powerful narrative. I hope through this exhibit to better understand what artistic expression has to offer scientists in facilitating intuitive understanding of complex problems.


Elizabeth Delson. American, 1932-2005. Blue Lagoon, 1982. Color viscosity etching on paper. Gift of Sidney L. Delson in memory of the artist, Elizabeth Delson, class of 1954.

Art is a way of evoking an emotional response to a specific representation of reality. By depicting and critiquing the effects of human activity on the environment, and our futile attempts to cage and control nature, the pieces in this exhibit present a compelling argument for sustainability and environmental reconciliation.  By presenting environmental issues within a visual narrative, there artists break down the barriers between ecological disaster and aesthetic appreciation in a way that forces the viewer to confront their complacency in the pollution. Regardless if the image depicts nuclear fallout, algal blooms, food security or sea level rise, these pieces provide an instantaneous connection to the people and places directly impacted. 

Patrick Nagatani. American, born 1945. Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Nuclear Crossroads, U.S. 285, 60, 54, Vaughn, New Mexico, 1989. Ilfocolor print. Gift of Nicole Moretti Ungar, class of 1982, and Jon Ungar.

Huma Mulji. Pakistani, born 1970. Untitled with Goats from the series Sirf Tum, 2004. Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photorag paper. Gift of Friedman Benda LLC.


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