Last month—December, the month of blur for me, every single year—there were a few memorable moments of clear. I am grateful for every one, and in particular, for Rebecca Brand's BFA Thesis Exhibition at the Richmond Center for Visual Arts on the campus of Western Michigan University.
Rebecca named her exhibit Within and Apart because this comes closest, for her, to describing in words what she explores when she makes art: the human relationship to the wild world. I stood for a long time looking at a muskrat's-eye-view video of a construction site represented by disturbed ground and a single orange plastic survey flag flipping in the breeze. The audio? Snapping plastic and distant vehicle traffic. In part, the making of the piece was a form of witness. I was trying to join in. In any case, the site has already become a condominium complex named Walden Woods, by now utterly woods-less and far from anything resembling Thoreau's experiment at Walden Pond.
Above me, the 3,000 feet of rope Rebecca had dyed green then woven singlehandedly from wall to wall to ceiling to wall, and so on, with the help of a ladder, both divided and linked the space and viewers. Rebecca explains in her artist statement, "I use rope to represent the innumerable connections within the natural world as well as the effect of the human element." Installation took hours. Her mother, who had watched, said Rebecca looked like she was dancing. The exhibition was up for five days in December. Please leave your comments here and I'll share them with Rebecca.
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