Calvin College Chimes

‘Remembrances’ begins run in the Center Art Gallery

Photo+by+James+Andrew+Gilbert.
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‘Remembrances’ begins run in the Center Art Gallery

Photo by James Andrew Gilbert.

Photo by James Andrew Gilbert.

Photo by James Andrew Gilbert.

Photo by James Andrew Gilbert.

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Updated: 3/10/18 12:21 p.m.

Calvin College alumna Jennifer Hand held the opening reception at the Center Art Gallery for her gallery show, “Remembrances,” on March 1st. The artist was on campus for the whole of that week setting up the exhibition and visiting art studio classes to talk with the students.

The opening night itself recalled the theme of the show. Many of Hand’s high school and college friends came for the opening night. Elaine Harlow, who graduated with Hand in ’92, said she was thrilled to see her friend again having a solo show back at Calvin.

“Her life took one path, mine took another path, and so to be back here at this point has just been pretty neat … You just never know what life is going to bring you,” Harlow said.

In her class visits, Hand talked about her work — both past and current — and the themes she’s engaging. She adapted her conversation to the topic of each class: painting, drawing and visual culture.

For senior Ellianne Huizinga, the talk helped her better understand the pieces.

“Nature relates to the human existence and how we interact with nature,” said Huizinga, recalling Hand’s intentions and how that connected to the exhibition as a whole.

The whole exhibition is, for the most part, subtle. Pieces are predominantly in shades of white, grey and browns and some with small details in light-blue.

Most of the pieces incorporate some form of drawing. However, there is still a great variety of mediums incorporated; including collected and sewn leaves, fabrics, video recordings and hand-drawn animation. These different materials are, at times, separate. At other times they interact with each other in the same piece, layering it with meaning.

Through the exhibition and the title “Remembrances,” Hand hopes to help us “bear in mind” interactions that are often harmful against nature. She complicates our understanding of nature by pointing our naïve and romanticized conceptions of it, yet simultaneously showing how we can also be faced with cruelty when stepping into nature.

The exhibition is an intricate elaboration on “our common humanity as we struggle to find and make a place with each other on this earth we call home,” and ends exploring ideas behind memories, finding a home and making a place with nature.

Some pieces, like “Whisper Box I – VI”, separate the human-nature interaction into our observation of nature in contrast to our appropriation of nature to create something. Another piece, “Garment for Remembering the Earth”, is a dress made of stitched leaves and blue fabrics.

To deepen the meaning of the dress, Hand recorded herself walking through a small forest wearing the said piece of clothing. The dress, then, isn’t just an aesthetic object, it also serves it’s functional purpose of covering, protecting the body from nature, through the use of nature.

The exhibition’s centerpiece also titled “Remembrances”, is a collection of floating leaves, that cascade down from the top of the room towards the floor. At a closer look, the leaves turn out to be made of fabric from clothes, pieces of t-shirts and leftover scraps from sewing. The fabrics were all donated by friends, acquaintances and strangers which she then cut and sewed together.

Hand wanted pieces of fabric that had meaning and memories attached to them. She is continuing to work on this piece as she hopes to install it in more places. She’s accepting donations of more cloth pieces that can be dropped off at the Center Art Gallery.

The exhibition is open to the public until the 27th of April.

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