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Look/out: A Mixed Media Exhibit by Naomi Falk
Peterson Hall, Rice Gallery
September 24 through October 18

Falk’s art revolves around what she calls her “central awareness: animate becomes inanimate, inanimate becomes animate—body becomes object, object becomes body—as I create representations of my physical space. A shadow, a trace, is retained. It is my body, but it is not.”

Falk hopes that by weaving together memories, myths, and facts, her art may provoke a subtly skewed awareness of the ordinary, and a deeper understanding of physical and psychological relationships to place. “What do we hold dear and worthy? How do we provide protection? Do we all hold the same things valuable? How do we hang on to memories, to places?”

Recently, Falk has found herself working in multiples. “I frequently use clay and found materials,” she says, “and am drawn to their histories. ‘Shift’ (or ‘Verkja,’ Old Norse for ‘work’), for example, explores the ability to hold onto the (still useful) old and worn, while finding ways to turn them into something new—building from the ashes, in a sense. We yearn to measure the intangibles of experience. In ‘Recall(ed) Quilt,’ I consider how memories and emotions might translate into physical objects—the bone-like porcelain squeezed in my hands a physical demonstration of how we hold on to each other, the ways we remember. Individual pieces reference individual experiences. When put together, they become a powerful human collective.”

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Her process and performance works often interpret the impact of social events and frequently rely on audience participation. “For instance, ‘Holding My Breath’ is a piece built solely by passersby. ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’ becomes a shifting contemplation on relationships as gallery goers push the castered posts around. In a similar manner, a much larger ‘Shift’ was built in collaboration with viewers throughout the exhibition’s duration and includes a time-lapse video of the ongoing process and shifting forms. This physical participation engages a deeper response and a broader understanding of the materials, spaces, and relationships encountered.”

Naomi J. Falk grew up in Michigan, studied art at Michigan State and Portland State University and received an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She has exhibited regionally and nationally, and has done residencies in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony and chaNorth in NY, and at Nes Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland. Currently, she is a Visiting Assistant Professor, Gallery Coordinator and Technician in the Art and Art History Department at The College of William & Mary.

The Rice Gallery is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 pm. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For more information about the artist, please visit http://naomijfalk.com/. For information and to confirm gallery hours, please call 410-857-2595.

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