If this comes back to haunt me in a few years, I will actually find it very funny.
This is the artwork reviewed:
(It's a little troubling that the reviewer didn't recognize the figures as Oscar Wilde... although I'm quite impressed by her analytic work [none of which I actually considered when drawing this old thing, over two years ago])
Postscrypt Hangs Dirty Laundry
The secrets, contributed anonymously, range from hilarious and goofy—“My best friend loved dog food as an afternoon snack”—to serious and confrontational—“I am a lesbian and embarrassed by this ... no one knows.” Inspired by the PostSecret Web site that blogs confessions readers send in on postcards, these secrets from the Columbia community reveal that everyone has something to hide.
Crowded into a small room in the basement of St. Paul’s Chapel, the secrets overwhelm the viewer with a sense of cathartic urgency. The abstract artwork in the exhibit visually articulates this need for expression. Columbia College junior Julia Alekseyeva’s Apologia interweaves modern figures with Greek and Romanesque statues painted with smooth lines and watery colors. Words frame the faces of the contemporary figures, who, staring directly into the viewer’s eyes, ask us to question the origins of identity.
In contrast, an untitled series of drawings by Jason Patinkin, CC ’09, exposes the disturbing side of the inner self with crude ink sketches of distorted bodies and violent monsters. A series of photographs by Paris Haber, CC ’12, also explores the grunge that lies beneath polished exteriors. Entitled House of Cards, the gray and sepia tone photos display an empty room with chipped and decaying walls, a solitary house, and a decrepit staircase.
The curator of Skeletons in the Closet, Kavitha Surana CC ’11, explained that the concept for the exhibit was inspired by the ideal, uptight Victorian family who hides perversion behind its perfect façade. Surana transformed the gallery into a space reminiscent of the fictional family’s secret attic with two unique installation pieces.
On the left side of the room is a beautiful antique desk covered with old photographs, candlesticks, and a knitted shawl. On the right, a rack of vintage dresses is surrounded by an old typewriter, books, and a brown box cleverly labeled “Grandpa’s old stuff.” Compiled by both Surana and Jenny Lam, CC ’09, co-president and secretary of Postscrypt, these random items create a mysterious ambiance and remind us of objects that are hidden in our personal closets.
While all of the artwork in Skeletons in the Closet is wonderfully executed, some of the pieces do not clearly relate to the main theme. A photo album of past trips by Lisa Danackzo, CC ’10, is more familiar than secretive. The album is attached to the wall with a matrix of white strings and push pins which seems like a last-minute attempt to add more quirks to the display.
Yet in a world where so much is hidden and on a campus where people mostly keep to themselves, Skeletons in the Closet is a refreshing look at the hidden truth.