"Rehearsals" and other shows from the SCAD Museum of Art
Notes from my days of visiting Savannah museums, part 2
Similar to my review of the Telfair Museum of Art's exhibits, it's taken me over a year to actually put this article together. So, after reading this out loud to other people and listening to their advice, I am now ready to publish my review.
In the main hall of the SCAD Museum of Art, they had a nice, feel-good exhibition called Rehearsals. Enjoyable, the show featured artwork by big names such as Aaron Douglas and Romare Beardan. What did they have from Douglas? A painting with a muted color scheme called The Judgment Day. The SCAD website interpreted Douglas' piece as a straight depiction from the New Testament's Last Days, but I saw something different. An angel (the link identified him as Gabriel) performing as dramatic lighting leaves patterns on the subjects left contorted in rapt attention over his playing. I have seen the apocalypse rendered in many a painting, but never something in this manner. The way Douglas posed the characters, it made me think of a scene from a play, or a concert. A Jazz Apocalypse, if you will.
Nearby, Romare Beardan had a more standard depiction of a concert. His collage, Jazz Rhapsody felt clean and naturalistic with its minimal decoration and round shapes resembling vinyl records and cut out photographs of drums. In fact, I saw circles everywhere in this exhibit. Rosemarie Fiore’s Firework Drawings had nothing but circles and lines. Looking at her piece now, I am amazed at how the colors and shapes pop out with such three dimensional level quality. Circular shapes also made up Satch Hoyt’s Celestial Vessel. Hanging from the ceiling, Savannah Now's article "Art and Soul" described this work as "a boat crafted from dozens of red vinyl albums" but I saw this as a canoe made up of hot pink records (1). Giving this impractical ship a function, Hoyt provided headphones connected to a wall filled with music for people to listen to as they could imagine the canoe going on a trip to other worlds in our dimension and beyond. In the headphones, scratchy, worn out versions of chants, drums, guitar, Big Band, Bluegrass, Classical orchestras, Rap, Funk, and Jazz come into your ear as you contemplate Hoyt's installation.
Besides Hoyt, I saw other artists play with notions of functional and non-functional art and objects. My favorite manipulation came courtesy of Los Carpinteros’s Conga Perla Doble. A proper descendant to Claes Oldenburg’s Water Blando and Salvador Dali's clocks, the group asks what happens when you fuse rigid and malleable concepts together. Other artworks explored the theme of using old fashioned materials in a way to depict modern technology. As its object took up the entire canvas, the oil painting Selecta (lost the artist's name while editing, sorry) had black speakers decorated with bright colors. The theme continued with Jean Shin’s And we move (pause) consisting of, according to the captions, “Digitized embroidery” made with “Five inkjet cotton prints”. She knitted sound waves and liner notes in cloth, and I loved it. Future technology mixed with the domestic arts.
To sum up this show? The future and the ancient coming together to create whimsical objects and in the process, create a paradox that's functional and non-functional at the same time. How very Readymade.
Via the Nasher Museum and Hoyt's official website
Looking at her work now, her large, high quality color pictures of sunlight on walls and bathrooms shaped by windows and curtains made me think of mid-day afternoon sun rays filtering through the venetian blinds of my room.
Barth also depicted disembodied hands manipulating curtains to create different variations of light shapes. These limbs, whether in photo-negative, clear, blurry, or with a purple color, they act as this omnipotent anonymous force controlling what can come in and come out.
Out of the main room, a hall had large wooden cedar sculptures by Ursula Von Rydingsvard. The title of the show? Shadows Remain. As she intended, I saw shadows, and they reminded me of different objects. The sculpture Norduna reminded me of aprons and Sunken Shadow resembled shovels or brushes. It also had imprints of past trees. Mission accomplished on her part.
I saw another exhibition that featured Candice Breitz, but I am going to devote another article to her.
1. Allison Hersh, "Art & Soul: The sound of music," in Savannah Now, May 5, 2013 (http://savannahnow.com/accent/2013-05-05/art-soul-sound-music, accessed April 10, 2014).