Exhibitions

Current & Future Exhibitions

Anna Von Mertens, Anasazi 12th century migration, 2013

Another Time: Anna Von Mertens

Curated by Mara Baldwin

November 1-December 17, 2017

Anna Von Mertens explores the rifts and connections between past and present by rendering major events in human history against the backdrop of the cosmos overhead and as impacted by phenomena in the natural world. The passage of time is embodied in her hand-stitched quilts, each dotted line of thread establishing its own time as evidence of both hand and history.

The works in Another Time trace pivotal moments of historical social instability causing new methods and modes of understanding. Whether mapping the passage of stars when Galileo first observed Jupiter’s moons, or star paths over the Battle of the Bulge as the war dragged on, Von Mertens sees the cosmos as both witness to these events and an impassive, abiding natural cycle. Works displayed from her series, Migrations, Invasions, Plagues and Empires interpret ancient tree ring cross-sections that point to climate extremes during the fall of the Roman Empire and other major human disruptions. The fates of humanity and nature are simultaneously tangled and independent. As the earth turns and the seasons repeat, Von Mertens probes the cyclical nature of time, memory, labor and history itself.

Anna Von Mertens received her MFA from California College of the Arts and BA from Brown University. She lives and works in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

 

Stay Awhile: A Cabinet of Curiosities from Collections of Ithaca College

Curated by Mara Baldwin

November 1-December 17, 2017

The urge to collect specimens is shared by artists and scientists alike, allowing for the suspension of time, in turn affording controlled observation.  Kunstkammers, or ‘curiosity cabinets’, came into vogue during the 17th -19th centuries in Europe, as trade routes and evolving technologies rapidly expanded access to and interpretation of the natural world. Dazzling collections of organic specimens were preserved and put on display, presenting teetering and abundant arrangements that relished both the pursuit of logic and the chaos of the unknown. 

The Ithaca College collections have been used by thousands of students to see, hold, and wonder about both natural and man-made worlds.  Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Handwerker Gallery and the 60th anniversary of the Department of Biology, this exhibition pulls together objects and specimens from across the college into a campus curiosity cabinet.  Celebrating the tangibility and eagerness of knowledge, this project invites pause to appreciate the interplay between Ithaca College and the world that surrounds it. 

 

Objects & Apparitions: Christine Elfman

Curated by Mara Baldwin

November 1-December 17, 2017

Elfman’s photographic work explores the temporal wane of objects, images, and memory. Color slips from the surface of paper, subjects become shadows, recognition fades into lore.  Using the anthotype process, her images develop slowly by sitting outside for weeks, the sun tracing the edges of exposure on paper dyed with light-sensitive pigment. Once complete, it’s a race against the clock: these photographs will continue to fade throughout the exhibition from the light that allows them to be seen.  Elfman’s fading photographs on display are made from arrangements of objects from Ithaca College’s study collections, and draw from the compositions of vanitas still-life paintings, a 16th century style of Dutch painting which negotiated the existential meanings of desire and mortality. This tension between the archival impulse and ephemerality can be located in the medium of photography and the specimens themselves. Over time, objects and images become evidence of nothing but the impossible desire for permanence.  Emphasizing the tension between recognition and entropy, the works offer a rare opportunity to witness the constant cycle of growth and decay, as the image is made of its own decline. While the gaze of the viewer witnesses the gradual destruction of the image, the photographs begin to mimic the shape-shifting apparitions of recollection and reminiscence.

Christine Elfman lives and works in Ithaca, New York, where she teaches photography at Cornell University. She received her MFA in Photography from California College of the Arts and BFA in Painting from Cornell University.