After postponing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wright Gallery has welcomed its newest exhibition, “A Dark Wood Grew Inside Me.” A collaboration by two female artists, this exhibit consists of various mixed media offering creative expressions on environmental matters.
The Wright Gallery, located in the Langford Architecture Building, opened its doors to the exhibit on Monday, Oct. 26. It will be available to view until Thursday, Dec. 3. Operating hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Rebecca Pugh, curator of the Wright Gallery, said this is an exciting exhibit to host because it is much different than past exhibits.
“This exhibition in particular has large scale sculptures that have been made particularly for the Wright Gallery space,” Pugh said. “It’s very immersive when you enter the gallery. You’re welcomed with sound coming out of the sculptural installations as well as when you walk through the gallery, there’s mixed media throughout. It engages viewers in multiple ways,”
Visual artist Hollis Hammonds and poet Sasha West, from St. Edward’s University, combined their specialties to create a display of drawing, video, sculpture and sound elements to showcase their shared concern for environmental issues.
Hammonds said to create the new pieces she introduced for this exhibit, she relied on her immediate reactions to West’s poems.
“I would read the work and then I would have sort of an emotional response and I would create drawings based on that,” Hammonds said.
While each artist had their own specific inspirations, West said the metaphor of finding oneself in a dark wood from “Dante’s Inferno” became important to both of their work in these spaces.
“I think that idea of we have had all of these disasters behind us to look at and we have all of these disasters in the future and we’re sort of thinking about how we avoid [them] or that we’re imagining ourselves into that,” West said. “Something about that kind of feels like a dark wood, finding yourself in a place that you weren’t expecting and sort of looking around and figuring out what’s there.”
In addition to the artists’ shared passion about improving our environment, West said they both have a common interest of exploring the use of objects in art.
“It’s one of the things that I’m really drawn to in Hollis’ work and what happens with objects and how these larger stories are told through objects,” West said.
Hammonds said she utilized everyday objects, most of which were from her home, to be a part of the exhibit and give a physical presence to daily consumed items which are usually overlooked.
“Almost all of those objects are things that I consumed from my own household that I collected and reused and just thinking about that is kind of overwhelming,” Hammonds said. “There are little things that we could do as individuals that I think could be a result of thinking after this exhibit.”
The artists encourage students to allow the exhibit time when viewing all of its elements.
“It’s supposed to be an experiential thing, and so I do hope as many people that can go on campus go and experience it,” Hammonds said.
Pugh said this exhibit was intended to be on display last spring, so the gallery is excited to finally showcase Hammonds’ and West’s work.
“The Curatorial Committee was pleased to feature this collaboration between two women artists, reflecting the Wright Gallery's mission to honor diversity in all its forms,” Pugh said.