Exit Gallery finds hope amidst ashes

In Art, Artist Profile, Arts & Entertainment, Student Art

Students with an interest in art can drop by Visual Arts Building E, where a very simple room has been transformed into one artist’s collective vision.

Within the Exit Gallery, there sits a room that can be molded to fit the artistic vision of whoever controls it. Until Nov. 10, the space will be filled with feelings of deep grief and loss accompanied by hopeful traces of rebirth. Heather Wright’s gallery is, in both the emotional and physical sense, completely hers.

As students enter the Exit Gallery, they will hear the sounds of rain and wind. Wright said his is a means of bringing them into a meditative state so as to best appreciate the work.

With many of her works, she uses the process of burn-out, which is taking fibrous material and applying liquid clay and then placing it in the kiln. Finally, Wright allows the fibers to burn away, which maintains the core and the crust of what is left over.

“I like taking antique found objects and repurposing them,” Wright said.

Many of the pieces for her are about grieving the death of her father, who had died from emphysema. One piece, titled “My Daddy’s Chair,” features a chair with a luminescent pair of lungs glowing above it. An open padlock is shown below the lungs, which Wright said symbolizes him being free of his earthly shackles.

“This is probably one of my most personal pieces,” Wright said. “He couldn’t walk and he couldn’t breathe very well and after a series of visits to the hospital, we had to make the decision to stop keeping him alive.”

Sometimes, the process of burn-out has some potentially disastrous results, as illustrated in her piece titled “When the Bough Breaks.” The piece features the ruined remains of a ceramic cradle which shattered as she attempted the burn-out process, leaving her with something completely different than what she anticipated.

“It sat on my desk for a long time, just in a heap,” Wright said.

This process of finding beauty in ashes carries over into many of her pieces on display.

“In the past year or two, almost every student art show that we have had in the TSU, she has submitted work,” said TSU gallery coordinator Danielle Clark . “We have had a really great working relationship in terms of the expositions that are at the TSU.”

Wright’s aren’t the only pieces to be displayed for the remainder of the semester, as the Exit Gallery will be open for additional pieces. BFA student Audrey Higa will have control of the gallery from Nov. 12 through Nov. 17 as well as BFA student Ezekiel Stacey from Nov. 26 to Dec. 1. An ART 479 Student Show for creative photography will also make its appearance from Dec. 3 to Dec. 8.

Most importantly, the Exit Gallery is free to anyone who wants to visit.

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