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Sarofim Exhibit Plush: Intimate Forms and Mischievous Glances

Arts And Entertainment Features

Sarofim Exhibit Plush: Intimate Forms and Mischievous Glances


In the gallery, lightness floods out from the glazed contents. Provoking forms made of porcelain, clay, steel, and gold all circle around the center where a merry-go-round of humanoid beings gossip and eavesdrop. The room feels mischievous and dreamy, and its theme matches Southwestern’s Brown Symposium on Attraction this year: the science and art of sex and romance. Plush contains subversive content that could, with some Paieda effort, be connected back to each of the Symposium’s talks. How is it that we can create images of sex (but not of an explicitly sexual nature) and intimacy with formless ceramic? What is so striking about seeing suggestive pubic hair in an art gallery, seen in Jason Briggs’ installations? What aspects of fashioning our bodies are not superficial in our class society? Is the profound art of self-expression so tied up with the commodification of fashion that we can no longer tell? These are questions that came to my mind, but the connections made by every student that steps in will be infinitely different, and that’s why you should go! SU students only have until the 20th of February to stop by and catch a glimpse of the small, shining wonders in the Sarofim Fine Arts gallery.

 Seven artists included in the exhibition illustrate the vast range of possibilities of contemporary ceramics. One of the installations that tugged on my heartstrings the most was Kevin Snipes’ Lookiloo, made of glazed porcelain. It is a multi-faceted piece, with two stories being told on each side. On one side a tiny inscription barely visible reads: “speak to me in your (non-legible) language.” To me, I read it as “speak to me in your visual multitude of languages.” I’ve settled on that since it fits how I felt about Plush, that every form contained multitudes of meanings, using bodies to speak words incomprehensible. 

Alex Anderson’s art piece: Excuse Me While I Feel Myself
Photo by Sarah Parks

Another one that made me smile and stare in awe was Alex Anderson’s Excuse Me While I Feel Myself, made of earthenware, glaze, and gold luster. As it suggests, the ceramic is feeling itself. Ending on the small of a peach’s back, a hand extends and wraps around the form. Sassy and peachy, it reminded me of Timothee Chalamet’s peach scene in Call Me By Your Name

Patti Warashina’s art piece Gossipmongers
Photo by Sarah Parks

And of course, the installation you can’t take your eyes off since it telephone calls your attention, Patti Warashina’s Gossipmongers sits in the center of the room, on a merry-go-round sort of pedestal. All the figures glance back and forth at each other, some tuning into a tin can telephone and some gasping in shock of what is occurring. Although most eyes are peeking out the corners of their eyes, I wonder what Warashina meant with the eyes that looked straight forward, not quite as engrossed in staring at their neighbors. To gaze is to abstract meaning from our surroundings, but what does it mean to desire a gaze? What does it mean to withhold a gaze from gazing? This exhibit generated a lot of questions for me, especially after attending the Brown Symposium. Before this exhibit closes on Sunday, take a stroll through the gallery. 

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