Brought to Light: UNH’s Museum of Art has something new
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 02:01
A new semester brings new excitement to UNH’s Museum of Art. On Jan. 24, the museum had a reception for two new exhibitions titled “Songs into the Air” by David A. Lang and “Expressive Voice: Brought to Light,” a showcase of Boston Expressionism.
“Expressive Voice: Brought to Light” contains highlights from the collections of UNH’s Museum of Art and Danforth Art. This exhibition features Boston artists from the later 20th century who embraced the historical root of European Symbolism and German Expressionism by using a blend of dark humor and social commentary within their works. However, Lang is not part of the Boston Expressionist movement. His exhibit, “Songs into the Air,” uses a blend of found objects, history and witty humor that complements the other exhibition nicely.
The current museum director, Kristina Durocher, stated that she chose the “Expressive Voice: Brought to Light” exhibition to “provide an opportunity to display some of our important pieces.” She worked closely with Katherine French, UNH ’75, Director of Danforth Art, to create a show that would complement UNH’s expressive paintings with others from the Boston Expressionists.
UNH has had a connection with the Boston Expressionist movement dating back to 1969, when Melvin Joel Zabarsky, Professor Emeritus, came to UNH. Having studied at Boston University, Zabarsky used his Boston connections as head of the art department to bring a realist insight to UNH. Many of his Boston colleagues served on the museum board or donated pieces.
Lang’s sculptural style embraces unique technologies and humorous social commentary. Many of his sculptures use a mixture of kinetic motion and sound triggered by a motion sensor. In an interview, Lang told a story of how, after he had a stroke a few years back, the use of sound and motion helped to motivate him through his recovery process. He also said, “Motion and sound represent the common bouts of society.” He used the example of the people in the gallery. He observed how everyone was moving in a similar motion between the artwork and talking about similar topics. Then he explained how motion and sound within his art are meant to capture moments like this.
Lang then explained one of his pieces titled “Play by Play.” This piece incorporates the audio clips of baseball’s most exciting moments. He explained how the wheels on the pieces are meant to represent a movement through time, and how the wings are used to represent dreams. He then described how baseball has long been part of American culture, and how this piece can spark emotions and memories for the audience.
In addition to the new exhibitions, the Museum of Art welcomes Sara Zela as the new educational and communications manager. Zela looks forward to working with students and faculty by creating smaller, group-focused events to help raise awareness and excitement about the museum’s collections, exhibitions and educational programs. She also believes that working with student organizations, residential life and faculty can help her achieve her goals. With plans to increase and improve the student volunteer, docent and gallery attendant programs, Zela hopes for students to play a bigger role within the museum and have a blast doing it.