Thursday, February 6, 2020. The Davis Museum lobby was full of life. A sea of people filled the room and one had to carefully navigate joyful conversations just to get to the coat check. White and pink flowers adorned the tables adding to the happy scene. Museum staff members and artists featured in the Q20 exhibit were spotted wearing white roses in celebration of the event. As I made my way downstairs to the ground floor exhibit, I heard the echo of excitement coming from different museum attendees.
Q20 is the quinquennial exhibit that features Wellesley College’s faculty artists’ work. Every 5 years a different member of the curatorial team at the Davis takes on the project. This year it was Lisa Fischman, the Ruth G. Shapiro ‘ 37 director of the Davis Museum and Cultural Center.
The exhibition was a collaborative effort between the artists’ hands and the curator’s mind. There was emphasis on exhibit design that would provide an individual space to each artist while still holding a common coherence. The title of the show as it was presented at the front of the exhibit, showcases the value of design with its multi-curvilinear that still presents a whole entity. Q20, includes work by faculty members Claudia Joskowicz, Phyllis McGibbon, Kelsey Miller, Elizabeth Mooney, Andrew Mowbray, Daniela Rivera, Katherine Ruffin, and William Van Beckum, David Teng Olsen, and Jenny Olivia Johnson. The exhibition will be on view through June 7.
The exhibition was a multi-sensuous experience that is hard to describe with words. One not only needed to really experience the sense the space created. A scent of lemon filled the air of the museum’s ground floor. The peculiar smell came from a wall on the corner of the room made out of courtesy of Faculty Artist Daniela Rivera. The wall questioned the idea of accessibility, what doors or in what case what walls are open or closed. Next to the wall a film by Claudia Joskowickz gave us an introspective look into the life of the Bolivian elite. It was a new and different way of storytelling that innovative film-work allowed the audience to reflect on the images shown. Similar to Noskowiak, William Van Beckum challenged our perceptions of familiar images of natural spaces and how they can change when technology and public policy evolve and change.
Technology combined with an analysis of time gave David Teng Olson inspiration to create his Survivor Robot sculpture which recalls China’s Terracotta Army of the first emperor. The 12-foot sculpture’s form and hand printed headpiece and hands uses the past to analyze how the past influences the future. Jenny Olivia Johnson also takes us back to a near past by transporting us to a 90’s bar with her DIVE installation. Through speakers we hear “The After Time,” Olson’s opera that has been nineteen years on the making. Music and installation collaborate to create a journey of nostalgia, love and loss.
Collaboration and design at Q20 created a multisensory space that challenged the audience’s perceptions of experiencing an art show. Through a carefully curated space the viewer was able to reflect on the past present and future with every single artwork shown. This was truly a testament of the beauty of creative artistic collaboration.