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Beyond the Screen: ‘In Scene’ Explores Nature, Collaboration & Modern Life

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If you tuned in last time, you know this column, Art Watch, zoomed in on Laura Heit. What you might not know is that Heit’s work is just one of a collection of pieces on display at the Schneider Museum of Art. This group exhibition features eight artists working in varied disciplines with a common theme: “to explore the state of the natural world in modern times,” according to the Schneider Museum of Art’s introduction.

In addition to Laura Heit’s Two Ways Down, an installation which uses sculpture, light and projection to tell a story, there is a diverse array of work. Entering the museum you will meet Portland-based collaborative team Anna Daedalus and Kerry Davis’s Columbia River Water Shadows. This series of large-scale pictograms explore the “one element that connects us all,” according to their artist statement.

In the next room, beside Heit’s installation, is the work of Adam Bateman and Rashawn Griffin. These internationally-exhibited artists recently extended their collaboration to a group of SOU students and faculty last week, talking the group through Griffin’s To Bring Love/Terrible Things, which includes a fabric wall construction and a multimedia presentation as well as Bateman’s Platform for Viewing, a rough-cut lumber structure that viewers can climb. Both artists shared with the group that writing is part of their studio process. In Griffin’s case especially, the displayed artist statement gives insight into the “trash man” depicted in his video: “I do not know if he is very good at this work, but he is doing the best he can do.”

SOU EMDA Professor Robert Arellano, whose artist’s narrative-writing class attended this talk, described the collaborative exploration of this work: “Students asked Rashawn how his work statement, a brief creative prose piece, related to the video. He said that for some time he had this original video footage—of a figure “at work” in a “suit,” at once haunting and humorous—for some time, and only recently did he realize how he wanted to edit and prepare it for gallery exhibition. This context from the artist was especially illuminating.”

Beyond that room is a series of pieces from MK Guth, a grant recipient for the Schneider Museum of Art’s Artist Residency program. “Human sociability, interactivity, and research are at the core of my art,” states Guth, whose still life installations have a haunting domesticity to them. Table for Twelve is just that: a huge table with twelve chairs and a stack of books, which viewers are encouraged to sit down and explore.

In the final room is We Build Excitement, a video installation from Jesse Sugarmann which, he states, “engages this humanity of the automobile” through a practice which is “interdisciplinary, anchored in sculpture, photography, video, and performance.”

One additional piece is viewable beside the museum: University of Oregon artist Tannaz Farsi’s Territory, a garden-installation piece which is part of the Southern Oregon Site Project and will grow indefinitely as part of SOU’s landscape.
Docent-led tours are available every Tuesday at noon. In Scene is open for viewing, Monday through Saturday from 10 am – 4 pm.

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