Willimantic, Conn. – “Spectra,” the second exhibition of the 2016 spring semester at Eastern Connecticut State University’s new Fine Arts Instructional Center opened on March 10. Spectra is curated by Roxanne Deojay, coordinator for Gallery and Museum Operations in collaboration with Jeff Calissi, Kristen Morgan, Maline Werness-Rude, James Holland and Imna Arroyo.
This exhibition explores identity through light and related phenomena across an expansive field of disciplines while using new and traditional methods of inquiry. Spectra is a unique exhibition and I worked with a team of talented individuals in multiple areas of disciplines for many long hours,” said Deojay. “I wanted to work with these individuals and come up with something that reached out and crossed various paths, so together we came up with this idea and group of artists.”
On March 10, as part of the exhibitions opening, an artist discussion was followed by a reception. The exhibit, which runs through April 21, features works by artists Chris Coleman, Erika Harrsch, Marta Jimenez Salcedo, Ana De Orbegoso and Noah Vawter.
Harrsch spoke with the audience about the use of butterflies in her work. For more than six years Harrsch has researched entomology, and the world of Lepidoptera (a species of butterflies and moths.) “I work directly with butterflies and use them in my work as a metaphor to address matters of identity, gender, nationality and migration,” said Harrsch. Harrsch’s work varies from paintings to large kite-like butterflies hanging from the ceiling. Harrsch uses monetary currency to create the butterflies, giving them different colors and values. “This represents the factors that change. When you are born, your gender, place and social economic status determine who you will become.”
Coleman spoke about his piece, “Interstitial Zones” which consists of a large projector using custom electronics and software. Coleman created an experience where the audience was able to see the communication between computers and 100 nodes scattered on the projection screen. The nodes double as mini-computers and react to light. When the flash of a camera would go off, the walls would light up at the same time. “This is an ongoing process of communication that happens between the projector and the microcomputers,” said Coleman. “What is interesting is it could be an entire galaxy at battle or a scene from a pond of water outside.”
De Orbegoso was the last speaker, and showcased her work, “True Passion.” “I am inspired by human beings, what and how they perceive, their internal perceptions and human emotions,” said Orbegoso. “We create messages for ourselves and have these voices talking in our head. We send and receive messages all day.” Orbegoso presented images placed in glass box with an individual on both sides. One side was sending a message to the receiver on the other side. “The individual on this side is throwing roses and the other side is receiving thorns this showcases the beautiful emotions that get turned into pain.” Orbegoso’s practice explores different aspects of the individual or social psyche through staged situations and iconography.
Salcedo and Vawter had art on display but were unable to make the discussion. Their work was viewed by the audience and Deojay spoke briefly about it.
Admission to Spectra is free. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday 1 p.m. -7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Call the Gallery (860) 465- 4659 for more information.
About Eastern Connecticut State University
Eastern Connecticut State University is the state of Connecticut’s public liberal arts university, serving more than 5,300 students annually at its Willimantic campus and satellite locations. In addition to attracting students from 158 of Connecticut’s 169 towns, Eastern also draws students from 20 other states and 63 other countries. A residential campus offering 38 majors and 55 minors, Eastern offers students a strong liberal art foundation grounded in an array of applied learning opportunities. Ranked the 27th top public university in the North Region, by U.S. News and World Report in its 2016 Best College ratings, Eastern has also been awarded “Green Campus” status by the U.S. Green Building Council six years in a row. For more information, visit www.easternct.edu.