Diverse Perspectives at Alumni Biennial
Apart from poet Robert Frost, who attended Dartmouth for all of two months, one of the best-kept secrets of this small Ivy League college is its significant number of alumni who go on to notable careers in the arts. Dartmouth’s second Alumni Art Biennial Exhibition, curated by assistant professor of painting Enrico Riley and his classmate, New York multimedia artist Brice Brown, presents a diverse selection of works by 13 alumni-artists in mid-career.
The works employ abstraction, figuration, conceptual approaches, politics, technological wizardry and wit. They also span several disciplines — painting, drawing, sculpture and performance, language-based installation, digital, video and sound art — all can be seen and heard through April 30 in the Black Family Visual Arts Center and in the “Top of the Hop” in the adjacent Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Voices of History
Hidden in a rear corridor behind the Black Center’s sumptuous lobby, Anna Tsouhlarakis’ 48’ x 12’ textual installation ambushes the viewer from around a corner. Punctuated by bundles of bound dry twigs, the bold six-inch lettering of “It is Partial” hammers out long-repressed thoughts of Dartmouth’s past and present Native American students. The voices of these descendants of the original Americans literally turn a corner from protest into poignancy. They mourn the historical uprooting and loss of dignity repeated in tearing themselves from reservation life to fulfill the missionary educational legacy of the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock, 18th century founder of Dartmouth College. Calls for pride, patience and affirmative remembrance alternate with fulminations of homesickness, humiliation and despair. For many, persisting allusions on campus to the College’s discredited “Indian symbol,” though long officially renounced, still rankle. And one embedded comment, “WOMEN ARE THE MAKERS AND BREAKERS OF THE COMMUNITY,” reveals an additional conflict of loyalty for female students who are tempted by the siren song of individualism in their elite East Coast education.