Alex Kemper - Staff Photographer|“New Paintings” features several large near-abstractions of sequoia and redwood trees by Assistant Professor of art Claire Sherman
Taylor Tracy – Student Life & Arts Editor
A few more trees have sprouted on campus, but they’re not planted outside. Instead they’re hanging on the walls of the Korn Gallery as part of “New Paintings,” an exhibit featuring the work of Assistant Professor of art Claire Sherman.
Included in the exhibit are four large paintings of sequoia and redwood trees from California and Nevada, as well as five small studies that draw from different aspects of nature.
About the philosophy behind this latest body of work, Sherman said, “I’m interested in confusing scale in painting and the line between abstraction and representation.”
Explaining the relationship in size between painting and viewer, she added, “The scale invites you in while also rejecting you slightly.” Sherman’s paintings are near-abstractions of giant trees, only showing a part of their trunks on the large canvases. About her use of color, Sherman said she wanted to use “electricity of color.”
She also said, “Today, computer screens inform how we experience color so they feel like they were painted in the studio.” Drewid Grace Cerra (’17) was drawn to these colors. About which works in Sherman’s show were her favorite, she said, “In terms of color, I like the ones with more red in them.”
Cerra also spoke of her first reaction to Sherman’s show, “It’s nature and a lot of them look like they’re from the same location.” She added, “They make me feel like I’m wandering around the forest.”
Alex Kemper – Staff Photographer|The new exhibiton in Korn Gallery includes studies of nature includes studies of nature by Sherman.
To achieve this sense of locational specificity, Sherman travels often, which informs her artwork. She noted, “Travel is a big part of how I work artistically… the experience of being there and the physicality of space.”
Sherman traveled to the West Coast to see these trees, creating her paintings from photographs and memory of her travels. About the subject matter of the work in this latest series, she said, “It tends to be all natural things that have human psychology embedded in them.” About her influences for this project, Sherman said, “I’ve been doing a lot of reading of travel writers and early female travelers like Isabella Bird… and also John Muir.”
Cerra saw a connection between Sherman’s work and her class this semester on nature writing. She said, “We’re talking about how and why we look at certain things in nature as beautiful… This kind of captures that.” Discussing how Sherman’s work brings the beauty of nature out in a relatable form, Cerra said, “If it’s not literally right in our backyard, we don’t have a tendency to appreciate nature.”
Noting what she hopes students will take away from seeing her work, Sherman said, “I hope it’s an opportunity to think about surface and mark-making.” An exhibit drawing from this same series of work was displayed earlier this year in the DC Moore Gallery in New York. (Her work has also been shown in Chicago.)The exhibit is on view in the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts Tuesday through Friday from 12:30-4 p.m. and by appointment until Nov. 21. A reception will be held on Nov. 7 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Ryan Genualdi- Staff Photographer|Artist-in-residence Valerie Hegarty talks to Drewids and answers their lingering questions
about her work and art in general after her discussion in the DoYo.
Taylor Tracy – Student Life and Arts Editor
A melted portrait of George Washington. Sculptural crows attacking a recreated still life. Papier maché woodpeckers clinging to the side of a landscape drilled with holes. These are just some of the works Drew’s current artist-in-residence Valerie Hegarty has made in the past ten years. Yesterday, she gave a talk about
evolution of her work over past decade to a room filled with current Drewids, professors, administrators and alumni.
About the beginning of her career, Hegarty said, “When I graduated, I wasn’t really sure hat to do with a studio art major.” In graduate school, she received a BFA in illustration and MFA in fiber arts. Eventually, Hegarty began working on her own sculpture. About her technique, she said, “I’m not really formally trained in any of it. I just make up my own techniques as I go along.”
Much of Hegarty’s work aims to create a destroyed, or ruined space in a style she calls “reverse archaeology.” About her first project exploring this theme, she said, “I wanted to make an empty room but have it be a construction and my artwork too.”
Drew.edu|One of Hegarty’s installations in a plantation dining room at
the Brooklyn Museum. The crows symbolize both slavery and
the oppressive Jim Crow laws of the South from that time
Her technique consists of painting and laying down layers of measured paper before peeling and ripping them to create a damaged look replicating that of a gutted space. Reacting to how people often walk by it at first, Hegarty said, “It becomes invisible at the same time because people think they know what they’re looking at.”
Hegarty did a series of appropriations of 19th century landscapes expressing manifest destiny and western American expansion drilled with holes. While they look damaged by war, there is a woodpecker attached to the side or near the painting. About her intentions behind these pieces, she said, “I was thinking about the woodpecker taking revenge on the meaning in the painting.”
She has also done a series of works of sculptural crows attacking still lifes of food, melted portraits of George Washington, furniture and paintings affected by weather and floods and landscape sculptures that grew into the galleries themselves.
Hegarty’s work is influenced by current events and art history. Her series of woodpecker works were influenced by an article about the sighting of a species of woodpeckers believed to be extinct on the same page about tanks found in the Middle East shot through with holes. Hegarty’s work has been informed by a variety of sources. She copies some famous paintings and alters them for her work such as mid-19th century American landscape painters. For her site-adaptive installations, she has been influenced by contemporary artists working on creating empty spaces such as Simon Pope.
Students reacted positively to Hegarty’s presentation. Kether Tomkins (’15) said, “I love Valerie’s work. I think that seeing her process can be a great experience for students interested in art and having her on campus is great for everyone.” Elizabeth Caroscio (’15) said, “I’m really glad we chose an artistin-residence who’s so good at expressing her ideas and expressing them to non-art students.” About what she hopes students walked out with from her discussion Hegarty said, “I hope that students from different departments came and had access to this idea of art-making, that students would get reference points for my work.” Hegarty comes to the Forest with funding from the Mellon Arts and the Common Good Grant, a three-year grant promoting programming in the Forest combining the arts with other disciplines.
Of the Grant, Interim Dean of the College Chris Taylor said, “This project really lies at the heart of what a liberal arts education is all about.” To promote this, Hegarty has a study in BC 104. About why her office is not located in the DoYo, Taylor said, “That is about getting the artist-in-residence out into the larger life of the university.” Throughout the year, Hegarty will be making herself and her work available in the Forest through a variety of programs. Students are invited to visit Hegarty in her studio.
Tentatively, her office hours will be on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. She will also be meeting with different campus groups throughout the year, presenting a series of public symposiums, installing a public art exhibit on campus in the spring and will be teaching a class with an assistant professor of environmental sciences, studies and sustainability in the spring combining art and cartography. Drewids who want to know more about Hegarty’s work or would like to set up an appointment to visit her studio should email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Courtesy of Lynne Delade | This photo encompasses the multi-focal perspective of various characters and their insights on the September 11 tragedy as one, "linked," American experience.
Kayla Webster – Contributing Writer
The Drew University Theatre Department’s production of Stephanie Weymouth’s (C’14) “Linked” premiered this Wednesday on the Drew stage.
Dealing with a subject which is both deeply personal to many individuals, and incredibly serious on a much broader scale, the show is an effectively humanizing discussion on the ways in which regular people’s lives were interrupted and impacted by the tragedy of September 11.
Where the play doubtlessly hit a lot of sensitive spots on its viewers, it also inspired a lot of reflection and discussion among its audience.
Courtesy of Lynne Delade | Savannah Miller (’16) (left) and Pierce Lo (’15) portray a married couple facing infidelity and an impending separation.
With performances ranging from inspiring to abysmal, not enough praise can be given to the breathtaking work done by Savannah Miller (’16). Evoking an awe-inspiringly believable mother, doctor and human being, Miller effectively brought much of her audience to tears with what appeared to be a minimal effort. Kudos must also be given to Shakur Tolliver (’16) who successfully brought a sense of multi-dimensionality and humanity to an incredibly difficult character, and Philippe AbiY ouness (’17), who played a convincing and charming child, unknowingly facing tragedy. The chemistry between the two as father and son was organic and compelling.
It is also worth noting the sincerity and charisma that Christopher Reyes (’16) always brings with him to the stage. Many of both the more compelling and more problematic points in “Linked” come from its script.
The characters that the playwright builds are believable and intriguing and each one of the six intersecting sub-plots has enough development and detail to have the potential for its own full-length stage play. But this level of detail, in the format presented, creates issue with pacing and length. The show overall, as well as each individual plotline, would have benefited from a solid hour of stage time being cut from the piece.
It is understandable why it is written the way that it is, as the playwright’s sincere devotion to her characters is evident in every scene, but in a show that is already often difficult to watch based purely on the heaviness of the subject matter, pacing and appropriate brevity would have been the key to tying the allowing this piece to excel.
If you want to keep the audience’s interest while introducing them to so many different characters, all of whom have (at times unrealistically, almost excessively) dramatic lives of their own, while already asking them to devote an extreme amount of emotion and consideration to your story and characters, it is neither appropriate nor effective to ask them to sit through two and a half hours of incredibly repetitive dialogue and story building. Make no mistake–the characters and conversations are written believably, but for the sake of pacing, sacrifices to the script (and perhaps therefore the realism) should have been made. After all, not everything is more interesting because it’s more realistic.
If our own lives had audiences, our conversations would probably benefit from some heavy editing too.
A heavily, heavily emotional performance, with appropriate and subtle light design by Nathan Forster (’15), and (usually) tight direction by Andrew Barnes (’15), the show brought its audience on an emotional journey (though it is impossible to ignore the hindrances to this journey brought on by at times extreme issues with length and pacing). Overall, the respect that the cast and crew of this play clearly have for the event which the show commemorates, and the devotion to the production had by all involved are clear. To anyone seeking to reflect on and honor a great tragedy, this show is one worth seeing and respecting for both what it attempts and accomplishes.
But that being said, no matter how heavy the plot line, and how respectable the effort, be wary of the length and try not to forget the seriousness of the subject matter in the show’s extensive span and frequent repetition–at times it is regrettably difficult not to do so.
Ryan Genualdi - Staff Photographer | Sabrina MisirHiralall (right) and Sharnice Jones (’16) among other Drew students practice the sacred Kuchipudi dance.
Allison Estremera – Contributing Writer
What better place than the Forest to bridge the gap between culture and religion? Yesterday, Crawford Hall transformed into a place of meditation and connection to nature, at a special interactive workshop on Classical Indian Dance.
Led by doctoral candidate for Pedagogy and Philosophy at Montclair State University Sabrina MisirHiralall, the workshop serves as an accompanying to her article, “The Postcolonial Reality of Using the Term ‘Liturgical’ to Describe Hindu Dance.”
MisirHiralall, who is a Kuchipudi dancer, draws from her personal accounts of colleagues repeatedly mislabeling her as a Hindu liturgical dancer.
She uses this as a platform to explain why this term is incorrect, mainly that not all religious dance can be described using the Christian term “liturgical.” After reading her work, Professor of Comparative Religion Karen Pechilis invited MisirHiralall to hold an interactive dance workshop. Although not her first time in the Forest, MisirHiralall noted the unique nature of the request. “Usually I’m invited to do lectures, not interactive dance workshops,” MisirHiralall said, and expressed happiness in having the opportunity to share such an experience with a group of non-Hindus.
Ryan Genualdi – Staff Photographer | Sabrina MisirHiralall begins the workshop with a brief lecture.
The workshop began with a brief lecture by MisirHiralall, in which she outlined the topic of her article in relation to the workshop. She took time to explain the nature of Hindu dance and how
it differs from Christian liturgical dance. Then, she touched upon the sacred nature of dance in Hindu history, and how British colonization of India warped the act into something vulgar.
Despite this, Hinduism continues to encourage dance as practice of faith. Though she noted the hierarchy of Hindu dance and its sacred nature, MisirHiralall presented what she called a “dance meditation” that would not infringe upon the beliefs of the participants.
MisirHiralall noted the importance to create an environment in which people with various systems of beliefs could connect to something more spiritual. Discussing how she took this factor into account when planning the event, MisirHiralall said,“Religion and those who don’t believe in religion are all paths on the same mountain.”
The meditation, which itself lasted three minutes, paid homage to natural forces. MisirHiralall wanted the group to contemplate the importance of “the world’s ornaments” including the moon, the sun, the Earth, water and the stars, all of which are necessary for life, but are often taken for granted.
Ryan Genualdi – Staff Photographer
Though the dance moves came naturally to MisirHiralall, the participants struggled to keep up with the fast pace of the music. The room filled with laughter as Drewids tried their best to imitate MisirHiralall. “It’s not about perfection, it’s the experience,” MisirHiralall said prior to the dance portion of the workshop.
When asked about what she wanted Drewids to take away from the workshop prior to the event, MisirHiralall said, “I hope to give us a chance to use our bodies to connect with nature and all it has given us” as well as provide a call for participants to “…take the moves I am showing them and make them their own.” The workshop ended with the group sitting in a circle on the floor, discussing and taking in the experience of engaging in a completely new form of dance.
MisirHiralall was pleased with the coming together of schools of thought, and said, “Regardless of whether we are from the West or from the East, we are members of the human race.”
Courtesy of Liz Moore | Sierra Boggess (left) and Norm Lewis will sing songs writen by lengendary songwriter Jimmy van Heusen. Boggess and Lewis have worked together for several well-known Broadway productions, most recently “Phantom of the Opera.”
Caitlin Philips – Contributing Writer
He wrote “It Could Happen to You,” “All the Way,” “Here’s That Rainy Day ” and “The Second Time Around.”
These are just a few of the songs composed by Jimmy van Heusen. Students will get a chance to hear some of these hit songs sung by Broadway stars next week at Drew. “Swinging on a Star: the music of Jimmy van Heusen” is the upcoming tribute concert for the music of legendary Van Heusen. Acclaimed musical director and pianist Rob Fisher will host the show and current stars of Broadway’s “Phantom of the Opera” Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess will be performing.
About the upcoming concert, Sara Lawley (’18) said, “I advise any student that is interested in musical theatre to attend this tribute. This is a wonderful opportunity to see amazing performers honoring the work of great composer.”
Van Heusen started his career by working at a local radio station. Believing each person in the country had a voice, he’d ask listeners to send in lyrics and would then compose them. He went on to work with with well-known artists and songwriters and wrote songs for Hollywood and Broadway musicals.
Van Heusen won four Oscars and an Emmy for his captivating music and wrote songs for Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Katalina Gamarra (’16), a theatre major said, “This concert is a once in a lifetime opportunity not only because you get to see Broadway stars in such an intimate setting, but you get to see them performing songs that changed pop music and songs that influenced a generation.”
Fisher, conductor, pianist and musical director, has been a guest of numerous major orchestras in America. He conducted with the New York Philharmonic for “Carousel” and “My Fair Lady.”
Also, Fisher has
for “The Sound of
Music” and “Guys & Dolls” with the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s.
As for Boggess, she began her career as an understudy for Cosette in “Les Misérables.” Boggess’ talents were exhibited in the revival of “Master Class,” “Les Misérables” and “Love Never Dies.” She has also starred in “Guys & Dolls” with Nathan Lane, Patrick Wilson and Megan Mullally, as well as starring in “Princesses.”
Lewis started his career by singing in his hometown church and high school choirs. Spotted by a producer, he was asked to perform on Premier Cruise Lines, leading him to New York.
In May, he made history as the first African-American to play the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. He was nominated for a Tony, a Grammy and two Drama Desks, for his Broadway performance as Porgy in “The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess.” In the past, the pair has worked together in “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” with Boggess as Ariel and Lewis as King Triton as well as “Les Misérables” with Boggess as Cosette and Lewis as Javert. In addition, they worked together in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Julia Cornell (’18) said, “I’m excited to see how Sinatra’s music translates to a man and a woman’s Broadway voices. I know that Lewis and Boggess have worked together in a lot of productions, so I’m eager to see how their friendship shows through in the music.”
Gamarra added, “Both performers are two of my favorites because not only do they have incredible vocal technique, but they are hugely versatile in terms of the ranges they can cover. They are both true stars and this is a once-in-a-Drew-career opportunity for people, so everyone should go.” With an all-star group coming to Drew, the show is sure to be a hit.
Van Heusen’s compositions reach everybody, and as one of the first inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, he was truly a star.
Lawley said, “I think this tribute is a great way to honor the work of a well-known composer, and to showcase the talent of Broadway performers. I am definitely excited about this–I think it’s fantastic that there will be actual Broadway stars performing at Drew!”
The concert is Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall. Tickets are $50 each and $15 for students.
Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-408-3917. There are a limited number of $2 tickets (up to 2 per valid university I.D.) for the Drew community, purchased at the Shakespeare Theatre Box Office.
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