ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Seeing the here and there and now
By Ashley Audrain
Exhibit: Seen and Unseen
Artists: Marion Drysdale, Thelma Rosner and Gerald Vaandering
Location: McIntosh Gallery
In the middle of the hectic hustle and bustle of Western's campus, in the McIntosh Gallery three artists have modestly exhibited their reflections on how to make sense of it all. Seen and Unseen explores the interactions between space and time, and the search for meaning and truth in the postmodern world.
The Gallery describes the artists' paintings and installations as being witness to what it calls the "now and then, here and there and here and now." But don't be discouraged by this puzzling description - the exhibit offers three diverse representations of social concerns.
Marion Drysdale's various images of the Madonna represent the embodiment of chastity, maternity and fertility. She paints the Madonna in different natural spaces, in an attempt to express the sacred image as occupying more than one reality at a time.
Thelma Rosner uses images of food to question the values of society, symbolic of the nourishment of philosophical well-being. "Testimony," a series of cold wax and clay surfaces, features various foods as images reflected on headstones, metaphorically representing loss in the meaning of security, family and community. A contrast to this dark and ground-level memorial, Rosner's exhibit entitled "Andalusia" is a series of six vibrant canvases featuring oversized fruits and geometric patterns, inspired by her study of Sephardi Jews in Spain.
The most thought-provoking and powerful display in the exhibit is Gerald Vaandering's "Heart and Soul"; Vaandering sketched a random and unspecified crowd in graphite and oil paint on Plexiglas and then sliced and reassembled it on black wood. The result is an omnipresent representation of a UPC code, a contemporary metaphor for Western culture's obsession with consumption and entrapment in technology.
Vaandering questions subordination, identity and surveillance, and the implications of a technological society. The artwork wraps around four walls and standing in the room of Vaandering's exhibit feels much like standing in the middle of the crowd he painted. "Heart and Soul" induces self-reflection and the paradoxical feeling of anomie in a mass and collective society.
The McIntosh Gallery will exhibit Seen and Unseen until Dec. 14. There are free public walking tours with the artists on Nov. 6, 13 and 20 at 12:15 p.m.