A door to the unknown, big wooden-canvas spheres and a metal funnel draped around a tree were all items that could be found in a wonderful display of outdoor art at Kenyon. As students walked around campus last week, they may have noticed a collection of sculptures in the area of the main quad surrounding Chalmers Library and Ransom Hall. Some simply walked around the objects, while others dared to investigate them. Lo and behold, these mysterious objects are the culmination of hard work and artistry by the Installation Art (ARTS 360) class.
The first piece that caught my attention was Portal to the Putrid by Lucy Kassel ’25. As I was on my way to class, I noticed the intriguing doorway and many visitors engaging with it. While the outside of the exhibit appeared to be merely a brown door with a looming black curtain around it, the inside held the true mystery of the project. Many uncanny objects were placed around the dark room. While it was box-like in stature, the portal developed a unique theme and was certainly worth taking time to observe.
Nearby, another interesting installation was wrapped around a tree. A long metal funnel in the shape of an old-fashioned ear trumpet could be used to whisper, shout or just plain talk into. Frequency Funneller by Cal Dannenhirsch ’24 combined visual and auditory senses in the exhibit. “This is a sound-based installation piece that captures ambient sound/voices and shoots them into a metal head-chamber,” Dannenhirsch wrote in a description for the Kenyon community.
Another tree-based installation, Lonesome Spectacle by Ruby Baker ’26, shines on the other side of Middle Path. The work involves pieces of glass that hang from the tree branches on string and refract light off of them during the day. Baker explains that while onlookers are examining the art themselves, they too become a part of the immersive experience. “This piece strikes a balance between being the observer and being the observed,” Baker wrote in the piece’s description. “The glass obscures, clarifies or warps one’s vision depending on what they choose to focus on.”
One of the largest installations featured two spherical sculptures made of wood and canvas, and could be found on the quad between Chalmers, Oden Hall and Lowell House. The artwork immediately stood out with its distinct structure and shape. However, the artist of Moon Landing, Mazai Almeida-Warwin ’24, highlights that the location of the exhibit created the biggest meaning of all behind the work. “Despite all this development [of buildings around the quad], the space feels separate from the people it was constructed for. Moon Landing hopes to bridge this gap by creating an incentive for students to engage with the space,” Almeida-Warwin wrote for the Kenyon community. The eye catching piece achieved its goal; many students and faculty alike discussed the outdoor artwork throughout the week.
All of the installations made a wonderful addition to the Kenyon community and allowed everyone to stop for a moment and appreciate the art.