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Natural Resourcery

April 9, 2009 at 2:03 pm
By Margaret Taylor '10

Last Friday, the Art Gallery opened its spring exhibition, “Natural Resourcery.”  To generate the collection, six Carleton Art Department professors were challenged to go outdoors to find inspiration for their work.  Trained in different media and styles, each one took a very different approach to the challenge.

For example, Linda Rossi used photography to explore the way that nature is used for commercial purposes.  In her photos, nature and the artificial are juxtaposed in very peculiar, often ironic ways.  There’s a waterfall with a handrail and a coin-operated magnifier in front of it, or the “Kodak picture spot” in the middle of the amusement park.  That “noble savage” in the photograph below is actually a plastic figurine.  Rossi used forced perspective to make him look as large as a man.

Stephen Mohring specializes in furniture.  (He taught the Woodworking: The Table class last winter.)  Not surprisingly, his entry in the exhibition is a table.  The wood for it was recycled from an oak in the Arb that had to be removed after growing for over two hundred years.  Professor Mohring also builds sets for Ten Thousand Things Theater, part of which is on display at the gallery.  Their current project is “a musical reinterpretation of Crime and Punishment.”

In my very unprofessional opinion, the best work of the bunch was Kelley Connole’s Scamper.  Remember those bright yellow signs that went up in the Arb last spring with dire warnings about the wild parsnip?  Connole thought it was pretty funny that we were supposed to be afraid of parsnips.  In her sculpture, a herd of clay rabbits are leaping straight out of the wall to escape the menace of the wild parsnip.  The work involved some line drawing, which was a learning experience for someone who is traditionally a sculptor: “You are able to make a mark and respond directly to that mark.”

The exhibition is up until May 9, so go check out the work from all six of the faculty!