Brock’s iconic Rodman Hall gallery is now filled with an exhibition entitled Denouement, displaying works from six Brock Visual Arts students.
The multimedia exhibit features video clips, animation, pen and ink, graphite drawings, and acrylic paintings by Kylie Mitchell, Jasmine Said, Amber Brown, Taylor Umer, Robin Nisbet and Becca Marshall.
The fourth year Honours Studio Course, taught by Shawn Serfas and Murray Kropf, sees students through a full year of creating works to be displayed in a gallery in Rodman Hall at the end of the year. The students work on both the creative and business sides of being artists and they work with a curator among other professional staff to make sure that everything from the height of the works being hung, to the selection of works is perfect for what they want to achieve.
On April 21 at 7:00 p.m., there will be an artists’ talk where members of the community can come and hear the artists talk about their experiences throughout the course and about their works.
Mitchell, is in Con-Ed and her teachables are History and Visual Art, two disciplines which heavily influence her work.
“The way I see it is, when you’re studying history we always look at the big events, the big people. We don’t always look at the little events, the little people. Society is built of collective individual stories which all live together and inter connect in some way. So I have been looking at the individual who isn’t really a part of the big picture history,” explains Mitchell.
Her work consists of interviews with Brock students about traumatic experiences they have had. The piece plays the audio from these interviews slightly muffled and simultaneously, forcing those experiencing the work to listen closely and engage to find out what is being said.
She also displays animations of quotes that Mitchell found most interesting being typed into a word processor, breaking the fourth wall as the artist and as the historian, thereby subverting so-called objectivity, as well as photography and short videography and objects that she claims have emotional weight for the interviewees.
The meaning of these objects however are fabricated by Mitchell, another level of subversion to participate in a discourse about what objects and artifacts mean to artists, historians, the people who have connections to them and society as a whole.
The theme and focus of the works displayed varied as well. Said’s work, for instance, turns internally and explores mental illness.
“My work is mostly about depression and anxiety and I’ve incorporated patterns into my work because they’re all thought patterns and it’s like you wear them as clothing and they envelope you. So my work hides what it is about and it’s childlike illustrations but with a little spin on them.”
One of the great things about this course and the Rodman Hall space is that it lets artists talk to one another and bounce ideas off of like-minded artists.
“I fully recommend talking to artists, if they don’t do that already, because they give you ideas,” adds Said.
Marshall’s piece is a tribute to the life of her grandmother who has dementia. The piece is an entire room of excerpts from old letters, news clippings, story telling audio by Marshall’s sister, pictures, as well as hand drawn animated projection loops of scenes from her grandmother’s stories.
Marshall received a box of her grandmother’s things over the holidays and incorporated them into her work to serve as a “touchstone” to introduce people to her grandmother. Included in the box were photos taken by her grandmother when she was in her 20’s and Marshall developed them for the display.
“All I know is that she was my age when she took them, and it was at her university and that’s all I really know about it. And so, as much as that sucks and is hard, it’s also kind of coming to peace with accepting that there are things about her that I am never going to know, but knowing that she held the camera, she took that picture, and the memory is there I just don’t get to access it, there is still something that’s sort of lovely about that,” she explained.
Every single work in Rodman Hall for Denouement is utterly stunning and the product of a year’s worth of hard work and planning by visual art students who are undoubtedly artists first and Brock students second.