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arts & culture

Mark R. Williams

Coming to America

Ever wonder how artists interact with the landscapes they portray? Picker Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Landmarked: Selected Landscapes from the Permanent Collection, features artwork that examines artists’ relationships with the environment. Through paintings, drawings, and photographs, Landmarked takes a look at how artists recreate landscapes and how those same landscapes influence the philosophical, social, political, and economic aspects of the artists themselves. Featuring artists from the 17th to the 21st century, such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Catherine Opie, the exhibition runs through December. This photo is the work of Kenneth Josephson, titled Wyoming, 1971.

A tower of golden inner tubes strapped with JFK luggage tags, Cathedral/Catedral was the centerpiece of Scherezade Garcia’s exhibition It’s So Sunny That It’s Dark, which ran September 6–October 8 in Clifford Gallery. In her work, Garcia — who emigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York City in 1986 when she received a full scholarship to the Parsons School of Design — addresses themes of displacement and adaptation. Coming from one island to another, she said, she’s always been surrounded by water. Throughout history, people have traveled this “liquid highway,” Garcia said, and “our DNA is in those waters in between the continents.” Identity and cultural heritage are prominent motifs in the artist’s mixed-media pieces. In Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk II, the Statue of Liberty is portrayed as a woman of color. “I call her cinnamon,” Garcia said. “Because it’s inclusive. The moment you mix paints, you are being completely inclusive because you are rejecting the idea of pure.” Deconstructing icons such as the Statue of Liberty and Mickey Mouse, Garcia aims to provoke and inspire discussion, but not state her intention. “You can build your own narrative,” she said. “It’s the meaning you give it.” Garcia’s use of rich colors — especially gold — and playful strokes give drama to her work. “The situation we are living right now, the state of las Américas, there is so much gold and glitter — [it’s like,] ‘let me entertain you so you don’t see how tragic this is,’” she said. As evidenced by the exhibition’s title, It’s So Sunny That It’s Dark embraces extremes and “beautiful contradictions,” Garcia explained. With what she calls a “pride of place,” Garcia acknowledges the beauty of our continent while also alluding to our painful history. In addition to her exhibition, Garcia hosted a workshop in the Coop called “How Do You Color Freedom?” in which participants discussed and then created art around the concepts of freedom. Get a glimpse:

Acting and reacting

“Think of someone who gave you a great pep talk. Who was that person?” Actress Liz Hayden, dressed as an athletic coach, posed this question to the audience in Brehmer Theater during the interactive play Pep Talk on September 26. She probed the audience for answers, which included “my mom,” “my soccer coach,” and “my grandfather.” One audience member, when asked to say more about her grandfather, was overcome with emotion. Her reaction is something for which Portland, Ore.based theater company Hand2Mouth tries to prepare. “When we make a show that’s interactive, we spend a lot of time testing it,” explained Jonathan Wal-

Justin Kunz ’19

“This is a show that involves risk, for both the audience and the performers.” — Christian DuComb


scene: Autumn 2017

ters, Hand2Mouth founder and artistic director. “We bring people in from the community, from all different walks of life, to learn how the audience will react and how we should react to them.” As part of Hand2Mouth’s weeklong residency at Colgate, Walters visited Professor Christian DuComb’s American Theater class to discuss Pep Talk the day after the performance. “This is a show that involves risk, for both the audience and the performers,” DuComb said, “but the audience might not know that they’re taking a risk when they enter the theater. You can never predict how every audience member is going to react.” Later in the week, Hand2Mouth showed a different side. Berlin Diary followed a playwright as she grappled with the meaning of family after discovering a diary her great-grandfather wrote during the Holocaust. After the play, German professor Matthew Miller facilitated a discussion about home, heritage, and the Jewish diaspora. “The second play wasn’t interactive, but it was still deeply personal,” Erin Moroney ’18 said. “It’s interesting to see how different styles of theater can cause different reactions in the audience.” — Emily Daniel ’19

Autumn Scene 2017  
Autumn Scene 2017  

The Scene is published by Colgate University four times a year — in autumn, winter, spring, and summer.