By Davone Presley
Jan. 29, saw the opening of “Myths Of Perpetual Growth” in the Richard and Dolly Maass gallery of the School of Arts & Design building on campus. With works ranging from video to cast metal sculptures, the gallery displays pieces created during Brooklyn-sculptor Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels’ time as the Windgate Artist-In-Residence at SUNY Purchase in the fall of 2019, such as one such sculpture, made from a repurposed radiator, along with sculpted elements, and a spot of silver underneath.
“The silver was actually an accident,” Fels explained when asked about the piece. “It was actually a mistake that happened with the cast metal, but I thought it looked cool, so I ultimately kept it.”
Her focus on metals can be seen not only in her other pieces, but in the various items scattered around the gallery. Many of these items were created by others during the Windgate bronze casting workshop, with the results of the workshop displayed throughout. Various shelves hold books influential to Bothwell Fels’ practice, alongside video work from Bothwell where she explores various physical surroundings, further demonstrating her commitment to exploring physical materials to their fullest.
“In Stitches”, an exhibition of fiber-based work created in the Fall 2019 semester by students of the Coloquiem: Fibers class, also opened on the same day in gallery 1019 of the same building. Displaying student-picked textiles, the exhibition showcases the visual diversity of material, much in the same way Bothwell Fels devotes her own exhibition to metal and nature-based material.
One such student, Visual Arts B.F.A student Nat Mahan, cites her personal connection to fabric work as an influence of her pieces.
“My mom used to work in textiles, and I picked it up too since I had at least some experience with it,” Mahan explained. Her favorite piece from the gallery being an abstract piece: a cone of fabric adorned in colorful mushroom-esque spikes, affectionately referred to as “the phallic-looking one.”
With abstract pieces, as well as more conventional fabric items such as clothes and bags, the gallery showcases the talents of the student of the colloquium, as well as the Grad student behind the class, one Noriko Okada, an MFA in Visual Arts and an MA in Art History.
Overseeing the gallery, Okada arranged the pieces in the space, letting the students of the class pick the pieces rather than curating the pieces herself. When asked about the overall result, of both the class and the gallery, Okada praised her students' devotion to learning about new materials, as well as their pieces.
“It’s a very long, very time-consuming process,” Okada said about the process of working with textiles. “It’s very long, but it’s so worth it in the end.”
“Myths of Perpetual Growth” is still currently on display in the Richard and Dolly Maass Gallery in the School of Arts & Design building. “In Stitches" closed on Feb. 3, while “Myths of Perpetual Growth” will remain until Feb. 14.