As visitors entered Gund Gallery on Oct 3, they were immediately drawn into the two new exhibitions with their non-traditional mediums, sound and quilts and the dramatic uses of space and color.
The Gallery hosted a reception for the premiere of the two new art shows: a traveling exhibition called “Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts” and a selection of pieces by Kenyon alumnae Mallory Cremin ’84 and Cynthia Brinich-Langlois ’04 that were a continuation of Alumnae: 50 Years, which celebrates 50 years of coeducation.
“Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts” explores how musical scores and sound can be used as tools to promote decolonization. Many of the pieces were created by indigenous artists. As viewers explore the exhibition, they become immersed in the music and culture of indigenous artists.
The exhibit relies on sound to function, in a sharp contrast to traditional art mediums. As one enters the rooms, other visitors are silent and the sound of the art, a mix of different noises and music, draws the complete attention of any listener.
There were also a series of pieces inviting visitor interaction to promote fuller involvement with the works. One piece asked visitors to drop beads in a jar and observe the noises and patterns that emerged from the layers of colored beads.
The second exhibit presented the art of two Kenyon alumnae and explored how bodies and the environment interact with each other, an overarching theme in the alumnae series that will last this entire academic year. Cremin and Brinich-Langlois focused particularly on humans’ environmental impact with their pieces. Cremin demonstrates this through her choice to utilize quilts and cyanotypes, a photographic printing process, over traditional art mediums.
According to Alasia Destine-DeFreece ’21, a Gund Gallery associate who helped curate the exhibit, “there is the visual commentary on the material objects that we create and have as human beings and how they might be wasteful or impactful on the environment … but her use of cyanotype is a very environmentally conscious medium.” Cremin also combined nature imagery with the motifs of man-made objects, displaying how humans have destroyed these beautiful environments with our consumerism.
In comparison, Brinich-Langlois looked at interactions with one’s surroundings more literally with her observational works, which utilized sketches and note-taking. Each piece was directly affected by how she saw her environment at that exact moment. She emphasized this direct impact by using her first drafts and not letting herself go back and adjust what she drew. “Being able to see her process in the work itself is a very special thing … that is very much one human in their environment,” said Destine-DeFreece.
Both exhibits presented new and interesting ways to interact with the world around the spectator. While “Soundings” challenged how one interacts with art itself, the alumnae pieces provoked visitors to analyze how they interact with their environment. “Soundings” will be at Gund Gallery until Dec 15 and this portion of the Alumnae: 50 Years series will be available until Nov 1.