By Katherine LeClair
On a Friday evening, Sewanee students, professors, and community members visited the Nabit Art Building, the Museum Gallery of Archives and Special Collections, and the University Art Gallery to experience Sewanee’s seventh Annual Gallery Walk. Traveling between these three locations, participants saw a unique series of art installations and performances created by students and renowned artists alike.
In the Carlos Gallery of the Nabit Art Building, Hans Schmitt-Matzen’s collection The Invisible King was displayed. Inspired by his son’s drawings, Schmitt-Matzen created abstract sculptures and paintings that curve and loop to create vague shapes of humans. This collection has been on display since January 19, but for the Gallery Walk two new elements were added: dance and live accompaniment.
Dancers Danielle Silfies (C’19) and Ashlin Ondrusek (C’19) performed improvised contemporary movements based on Schmitt-Matzen’s work that mimicked the motion and energy flowing from these dynamic paintings and sculptures.
Ondrusek remarked, “By looking at it and observing, we’ve inspired ourselves, so what we’re doing is based off of what we’re feeling from this artwork.” As Silfies and Ondrusek danced together, their movements flowed in a swirling fashion just like Schmitt-Matzen’s pieces.
During the dance, violinist Annie Bowers (C’20) and soprano Caiti Berends (C’20) performed “Along the Field” by Ralph Vaughn Williams and “Four Songs for Voice and Violin” by Gustav Holst.
“They were actually pretty serious pieces,” said Berends, “which was interesting because the work is somewhat childlike and playful.”
The somber songs combined with artwork reflecting the joys of childhood made the audience feel a sense of nostalgia.
The Museum Gallery of Archives and Special Collections presented modern and contemporary works from the University’s art collection, featuring a particularly breathtaking Salvador Dali painting, Homage to Venice.
In the Archives, University Organist and Choirmaster Geoffrey Ward and assistant professor of violin Peter Povey performed two of Heinrich Biber’s Rosary Sonatas. Before these two musicians began to play, Povey gave a brief explanation of Biber’s work. “[Biber] ignored standard tuning and changed the pitch…depending on the key, or the story, or the mood he wanted people to feel,” said Povey.
For the final segment of the Gallery Walk, the University Art Gallery projected Angelica Mesiti’s video installation Citizens Band, previously covered by The Purple. In the Gallery, four screens face each other and display videos of immigrants playing music from their birthplaces in ambiguous industrial settings.
Dancers, once again, accompanied this art installation. Annie Corley (C’20), Robin Kate Davis (C’21), Adelle Dennis (C’21), Alyssa Holley (C’18), and Julianna Morgan (C’21) improvised alongside these projections. Their movements interrupted parts of the projections, making them appear integrated into Mesiti’s videos. “We’re trying to mimic and move with the sounds and be with the works on the screen,” said Corley.
Brenders admired the cohesion of these different mediums across the Gallery Walk and said, “It’s really cool to really see it come together…and how it means so many different things to people…whether they respond to the art or to the music or to the dance.” This wide variety of art and performance in Sewanee’s Gallery Walk allowed audiences to identify what works strike them the most.