PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In celebration of Brown University’s 250th anniversary, the David Winton Bell Gallery and the Department of Visual Art presents a series of one-person exhibitions by distinguished alumni.
The first exhibition will feature the work of Dawn Clements ’86, Paul Ramirez Jonas ’87, and Kerry Tribe ’97. Their work will be on view concurrently, but in separate spaces within the Bell Gallery, from Saturday, Feb. 15 to Sunday, March 30, 2014. An afternoon of artist talks will be held on Friday, March 7, in conjunction with the opening celebration of the University’s semiquincentenary. Clements, Ramirez Jonas, and Tribe will each speak, followed by a moderated conversation with Wendy Edwards, chair of the Department of Visual Arts. The event will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the List Art Center Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Bell Gallery.
The second set of exhibitions, featuring Sarah Morris ’89, Rob Reynolds ’90, and Taryn Simon ’97, will be shown from April 12 through May 25, 2014.
All events are free and open to the public.
The six alumni artists featured in the anniversary exhibition have established significant careers within the visual arts and were chosen to represent a diverse range of media. Incorporating drawings, paintings, sculpture, photographs, videos, and films, the artists create aesthetically diverse works. While there is no identifiable “Brownian aesthetic,” as Ralph Rugoff ’80 noted in his catalogue essay, “all seem to make art that grows out of expansive and invigoratingly skeptical ways of reading.” Each artist investigates and interprets social and cultural phenomena in a unique way.
Ramirez Jonas’s sculpture The Commons is modeled on an ancient Roman equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. The original in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, is joined by a full-scale bronze copy that has stood at the top of the Ruth J. Simmons Quadrangle on Brown’s campus since 1908. The material of the Ramirez Jonas’s sculpture — cork and pushpins — suggests that the object is not simply a statue but also a platform for participation. The artist intends that viewers contribute messages and notes, pinning them to the base of the statue. Countering the modernist concept of the auteur, Ramirez Jonas invites the viewer to participate in the completion of the work.
Clements and Tribe translate and reconfigure pre-existing cinematic texts. Clements examines the spaces of cinematic melodrama, mapping the interior environments in which these films unfold. In her 20-foot drawing Mrs. Jessica Drummond (My Reputation, 1946) — which was included in the 2010 Whitney Biennial — Clements references the Barbara Stanwyck film. Using only black ballpoint pen she stitches together a panoramic view of the protagonist’s bedroom. Clements’s architectural interiors challenge the conventions of drawing: folded, pressed, creased, and hanging loosely, they cover the walls like textured fabric. Additional works in the exhibition demonstrate the delicacy with which Clements employs color inks and washes.
Kerry Tribe will present There Will Be ________, a half-hour video that conflates the real and fictional histories of the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills. Used as a backdrop for numerous Hollywood films — from The Big Lebowski to There Will be Blood — Greystone Mansion was also the site of a real-life drama: a double murder. Tribe unites these histories by using dialogue drawn from the commercial films to script five competing and plausible accounts of the murders, which she films in the mansion. The evolving scenarios and repeated dialogue create a sense of confusion that speaks to the slippery slope of truth and fiction and how media can obscure our remembrances of past events.
The David Winton Bell Gallery is located on the first floor of List Art Center, 64 College St. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call 401-863-2932 or visit www.brown.edu/bellgallery