The McIninch Art Gallery held an artist talk and reception for its newest exhibit, “Cannot Be Determined in Advance” by the artist Debra Weisberg on Thursday, February 23. “Cannot Be Determined in Advance” is an installation exhibit that makes use of the entire gallery space.
Weisberg crafted a sweeping sculptural landscape out of wire dipped in pulp and torn black rice paper. In addition to the visual nature of the sculpture, the composer Ken Field created original music that plays on a loop in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition.
“I think it’s going to expand their ideas of what happens in a gallery space,” Weisberg said about her exhibit. “It combines sound, theatre and sculpture installation into an environment that will hopefully heighten their senses.”
In addition to the exhibit using the gallery space in an entirely different way than previous exhibits, the very nature of Weinberg’s art is incredibly abstract and open to the viewer’s interpretation. “This is a huge departure from the more traditional exhibits that we do,” said Deborah Disston, director of the McIninch Art Gallery. “It’s very different for a student to be able to walk into the space and ask what it means and to be told it doesn’t mean anything, that it’s whatever you want it to mean. And I think honestly that’s the essence of all art forms anyway.”
The music that will accompany “Cannot Be Determined in Advance” will loop in the background of the exhibit during the gallery’s hours of operation. The music is unique in the fact that it exists as two asynchronous tracks. This means that no matter when someone goes into the gallery, the music will always be slightly different. “It’s something you have to sit and listen to for awhile because, as I said, things change,” Fields said. “The two different loops shift in respect to each other. If you stay for half an hour you’ll hear some things that are the same but will combine in different ways.”
Senior James Cowin was entranced by the abstract nature of the new exhibit. “I spent a lot of last semester learning about abstraction so it’s all about getting in there and opening your mind to what you’re seeing,” Cowin said. “It’s like when you listen to a piece of classical music and you don’t expect anything like a story from it, you just kind of listen and enjoy.”
The exhibit will be up until Sunday, April 2 and students are encouraged to stop by and experience Weisberg’s work for themselves.
“You can just walk in there and appreciate it,” Disston said. “Or not appreciate it! That’s fine too. I think having a visceral response to things is important too. If you are repelled, that is a visceral response that is just as important as being attracted to something. Both those reactions are triggered by something deep inside of you.”