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Artwork intrigues, inspires SMC students

Abigail Forney | Friday, September 9, 2011

Now, until Sept. 16, students visiting the Moreau Galleries of Art at Saint Mary’s can view a collaborative art exhibit featuring broken TVs and melting dolls.

The exhibit, “Unknown Atomic,” is a collaborative student independent study and research (SISTAR) grant program project between Saint Mary’s senior Katie Fisher and art professor Krista Hoefle.

English professor and director of the SISTAR program Laura Haigwood said the exhibit highlights the talent of both artists.

“It gives equal prominence to both, and you can see that they are two mature artists and can hang together after they’ve collaborated.” Haigwood said.

Haigwood said the SISTAR program annually grants Saint Mary’s students the opportunity to work with a Saint Mary’s professor on a collaborative eight-week project during the summer.

The everyday objects featured in “Unknown Atomic” have been altered to include barcodes and cautionary labels.

Students have mixed reactions regarding the exhibit.

“I honestly don’t really understand it, but it’s awesome” senior Natalie Burkart said. “[It’s] bright, really in-your-face and it makes you stop and look at it.”

The first time she visited the exhibit, junior Maeva Alexander thought the exhibit was strange.

“The little house with people inside melting [was gross], it was like a destruction of our childhoods.”

However, first year Maria Monreal immediately liked the exhibit.

“I wish I was that cool,” Monreal said.

According to Fisher’s artist statement, this mix of emotions was the goal of her exhibit. She said she wanted to explore the relationship between attraction and repulsion.

Haigwood said she enjoys the uniqueness of the exhibit.

“[‘Unknown Atomic’] is turning [the SISTAR program] over to more creative approaches to projects and encouraging larger attendance to the presentation,” Haigwood said. “[The exhibit is] a model for how we might do SISTAR presentations differently, and we have already changed how we’re promoting them.”

Also on exhibit in the Moreau Gallery is Beth Reitmeyer’s “Room for Inspiration” which features walls lined with quilts and clouds and ceiling tiles adorned with hanging flowers.

The exhibit is interactive — visitors can write messages and pin them to the clouds.

An additional exhibit by Jim Hopfensperger features dysfunctional pieces of furniture.

“[The furniture pieces are] modern and minimalistic, but with a fantastic twist. I feel like Alice from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Mr. Tumnus from Narnia would fight over that chest of drawers,” Monreal said.

The exhibits are free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.