CAN ART STOP TIME?
There's the time on a clock or calendar: the time you're always running out of or running short on. And then there's the other kind of time. "Certain experiences are brighter than others, certain moments stay in your memory more," says Angela Fraleigh, assistant professor of art at Moravian. "Time is something that has more to do with what you're thinking will come, and what has come before. It has more to do with memory and hope." So "Out of Time," the title of the exhibition she's curating at Moravian's Payne Gallery, is best thought of not as a dire ultimatum, but as an invitation to step out of time's seemingly linear flow and stay within each individual moment. "The show's about breathing, about rhythm," says professor Fraleigh. "You can have an intimate, one-on-one experience with each piece in the show."
The exhibition will include paintings, drawings, sculpture, and video and animation installations. Because the theme has more to do with one's experience of time than with time itself, the works' temporal implications can be subtle: no hourglasses or melting clocks here. Some of the images deal with time in the sense of nostalgia, or projecting a memory into the future. A video loop by Rotem Balva depicts the artist moving from one room to another, repeating the task like Sisyphus trying to push uphill. Drawings of animal-like figures by Ihrie Means invite viewers to pause and look closely to sort out the creatures' abstract and representative elements. At the other end of the scale is a kinetic sculpture by Lehigh University's Wes Heiss, a large, metal airplane luggage carrier called that expands and contracts as if breathing. Its respiration is both rhythmic and unsettling. "It raises issues of danger and fear," professor Fraleigh says. "You wonder what's inside, what's making it do that."
Even in a show concerned with time, space must be part of the equation. Fortunately, Payne Gallery is a roomy showcase for artwork of all sorts, professor Fraleigh says. "I always forget how big it is, with plenty of space, and how high the ceilings are. It really can feel kind of majestic." Choosing where to place each work of art is, in a way, an art in itself. "Some are small and lend themselves to more intimate spaces," professor Fraleigh says. "So you need to think about where a viewer's body will stand in relationship to the work." And though each individual work needs to be given its due, she says that the art of curating also means keeping an eye on the big picture. "I've been trying to create a conversation between pieces," she says. "It's going to be a dance between which ones speak to each other and which ones shouldn't. My hope is that the art will have a conversation, not a fight."
Out of Time will be on display in the Payne Gallery from December 6-January 27. Gallery details here
InCommon is Moravian's internal newsletter, produced every two weeks during the academic year by the public relations office.
Rick Chillot, editor