To mark the opening of Fractured Narratives: A Strategy to Engage at the David Owsley Museum of Art, the co-curators of the exhibition, Amy Galpin and Abigail Ross Goodman, visited the museum to talk about their work. The traveling exhibition began at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where Amy Galpin curates. Fractured Narratives’ roots are in the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, a donation of more than 225 works of art to Rollin’s College.
On Wednesday, February 4th, the curators were busy around campus at three different talks. Firstly, Amy Galpin held a lunch session in the Art and Journalism Building to talk about being a curator with students and teachers of Ball State University. The two also presented to Dr. Natalie Philips’ Contemporary Art History class at 3 pm where they were asked about the experience of being a curator of Contemporary Art.
At the Curators’ Talk in Recital Hall, the co-curators took the stage to discuss the fourteen artists’ works on display and how they decided on this selection. The theme which began their planning was social activism and how art plays its role in social change. From there, they expanded the scope of the exhibition to this idea of a “fractured narrative,” a story presented in a fragmented or interrupted fashion in order to make the viewer think about the subject or theme in a different way. This idea of disconnection continues throughout the exhibition in works such as Oromaye, by Eric Gottesman. This story is shown in bits and pieces at different periods of time and in a non-linear fashion. He also displays the story in different types of media.
“To me, the nonlinear or broken structure allowed the artists to freely express or piece together their thoughts without being restricted to a cohesive point or story,” said Walter Bender, Graduate Student.
Two of the artists whose works were discussed at the lecture were Sandra Ramos and Dawoud Bey. From Cuba, Sandra Ramos explores the themes of isolation and being left behind in her video art. One of her main inspirations is the classical myth of Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos associated with labyrinths. Ariadne’s thread, seen in several of Ramos’s work, is a method she used in the myth to find her way out of the maze. Ramos couples this character with the character of Alice from Alice in Wonderland to create the little girl who represents her own feelings towards her native country.
Dawoud Bey has two works in the exhibition from the Birmingham Project. This project was to show two side-by-side images that related to the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama by white supremacists. Four young girls and two teenage boys were killed as a result of this attack. Dawoud Bey spent much time with the people in Birmingham and has an intimate connection with them. In his photographs, we see a child and an elderly person paired together. The young child is the equivalent age of one of the children murdered and the elder is the age that child would be had they lived today.
After the talk, a reception was held in the museum. There, visitors and students gave their feedback of the exhibition.
“I found the exhibition very mind opening. For me it was interesting to see both the image of the artist portrayed in the work exhibited, but also the kind of activism they stand for.” Visitor Alina Beteringhe continued, “I love the idea of fragmented narratives because I believe storytelling is something very human in the way of communicating a story but I also believe narrative at a more general level is telling us so much about the people who are communicating things to us or even about us and our way of understanding what it is communicated to us.”
Upcoming events for Fractured Narratives include:
Sunday, March 15th
1:30 – 4:30 pm
First Person: Eric Gottesman and Fractured Narratives
Thursday, March 26th
Un-Tour of Fractured Narratives by Alexander Jarman
Friday, April 24th