Arts & Culture

Indonesian Dancers Perform, Lead Workshop with Green Street Students

Tari Aceh! performers worked with students at the Green Street Arts Center Feb. 25.

Tari Aceh! performers worked with students at the Green Street Arts Center Feb. 25.

On Feb. 5, the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center hosted dancers from the Connecticut premier of Tari Aceh! (Dance Aceh!). The performance features a group of nine female performers from Aceh, Indonesia on their first-ever tour of the United States. Their dances, inherited from their ancestors, are stunning in their synchronicity and include rhythmic body percussion and the singing of both Islamic liturgical and folk texts, accompanied by percussion. The dancers are between the ages of 14 and 24, and study at Syiah Kuala University, located in Banda Aceh, the capital of the Aceh province on the western Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Green Street held a workshop with the Acehnese dancers for its AfterSchool students. The workshop exposed them to a similar dance from another culture.

A supporter of Green Street, the Center for the Arts regularly includes visiting artists in programming for the AfterSchool program.

Photos of the program are below: (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

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Shinohara’s Solo Exhibitions to be Displayed in Japan

keiji

Master printmaker Keiji Shinohara, artist in residence, will have three solo exhibitions in 2015.” The title is “Keiji Shinohara: Woodcut.”

The first will be at the Odakyu Shinjuku Art Salon in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan March 11-17. For more information call 03-3342-1111 (Japan).

The second show will be at Art Zone-Kaguraoka in Kyoto, Japan May 9-May 25. For more information call o75-754-0155 (Japan).

The exhibition will return to the United States and be on display at the Visual Arts Gallery at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. throughout the month of October.

In addition, Shinohara will be demonstrating Japanese Ukiyo-e printmaking and techniques at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston from noon to 3 p.m. April 6 and April 19. He’ll also lead a workshop at the Penland School of Crafts in Penland, N.C. Aug. 9-21.

Shinohara teaches in the Art and Art History Department and the College of East Asian Studies. While living in Kyoto, he trained for 10 years in the traditional Japanese woodblock printing style known as Ukiyo-e.  The technical foundation for his artwork is rooted in that training, accompanied by techniques of contemporary western printmaking, yet the imagery itself is very different from historical Ukiyo-e.

According to Shinohara’s artist statement, “the story behind the work is very important; there is a sense of narrative that is very private. The feelings and emotions that I convey through these abstract landscapes matter most to me. Almost always my images are of nature, but it is the essence of the landscape that I want to express, not realistic accuracy.”

Graduate Student Blasser: an Artisan, Entrepreneur, Educator

Graduate student Peter Blasser tunes one of his hand-crafted analog instruments. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Graduate student Peter Blasser tunes one of his hand-crafted analog instruments. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In this Q&A, we speak with Peter Blasser, a music graduate student. 

Q: What was your first experiences with music? When did you decide that music would be your life work?

A: I was in elementary school in the 1980s when music programs were still part of the public school curriculum. I remember that those music classes were not very noteworthy at the time. In middle school I took a wood shop class and liked working with the tools. After taking classical civilization classes, I started to triangulate all three — I wanted to work with wood to make ancient Greek instruments to see what they sounded like. The first instruments I decided to recreate were ancient stringed instruments.

Blasser changes where the transistors are connected in order to tune the instrument.

Blasser changes where the transistors are connected in order to tune the instrument.

Q: Where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

A: I went to Oberlin College. I initially went as a classics major, but still had a passion for making classical instruments. Oberlin had a conservatory for music, and they offered introductory courses in electronic music. I started to use electronic music to model and tune classical instruments. I also was able to take a course in analog music, learning about transistors and electronics, and how they could be used to make music. This caused me to combine wood and analog electronics, which is all about the flow of the transistors.

Q: What did you do after graduating?

A: I purchased a home in Baltimore about 10 years ago as a space to work on my art. Fixing up the house was an artistic experience in of itself. I also started my own business where I sold analog instruments. I wasn’t making much money, so I spent a lot of time working on poetry, thinking of ideas for my business and exploring my philosophy. I also toured with my instruments, but didn’t like how much I had to promote myself and push my brand.

Q: Why did you choose Wesleyan for your graduate school?

Blasser likes to work with wood, which is frequently used in his instruments.

Blasser likes to work with wood, which is frequently used in his instruments.

A: I decided to attend Wesleyan after developing a friendship with Ron Kuivila, chair of the Music Department. After graduating from Oberlin I never thought I would return to school, but I found that I enjoyed giving lectures and helping other students make their instruments. I also liked how Wesleyan’s music program, and art program in general, is experimental — there are no prejudices from students about what music should “be” like. The different departments are porous, there is mixing between different mediums and styles. This enables me to sit with undergraduates and help them make a piece that the student will own, with a shared experience. This made me realize that I enjoy teaching, and in order to become a professor, formal education is required.

Q: What are your plans after Wesleyan?

A: Right now my analog electronics business,

Mlozanowski Author of Night Flying

Night Flying

Night Flying

Joy Mlozanowski, library assistant/accounting specialist, is the author of Night Flying, published by Port Yonder Press in January 2015.

Abstract: In her diary, Mae questions God as she and her husband confront the news of an abnormal pregnancy and agonize over the decisions they face. Needing time away to think, she visits her childhood home and reconnects with Will, a deaf friend who taught her to sign when they were young. After her visit, Mae and Will continue an intimate written exchange in which she confides her despair, while Will shares his own struggle to honor the wishes of his dying father, and reconcile his mother’s reluctance to let go.

This collection of correspondences between Mae and Will form a powerful, nonjudgmental narrative around faith and the controversial topics of abortion and end-of-life care. Their story is one of understanding and hope, and promises to deeply touch anyone who has faced these difficult and heartbreaking choices.

Mlozanowski has an MFA from Southern Connecticut State University, and also is a visual artist and the assistant editor for Pith Journal. Read more: www.joychristine.com

Wesleyan Writers Conference Offering Scholarships, Fellowships

Wesleyan is hosting the 59th annual Wesleyan Writers Conference June 10-14.

Wesleyan is hosting the 59th annual Wesleyan Writers Conference June 10-14.

Registration is open for the 59th Annual Wesleyan Writers Conference. This year, the conference is offering scholarships and fellowships for alumni and other members of the Wesleyan community, including six scholarships for undergraduates.

The conference, held June 10-14, welcomes established writers, new writers, and everyone interested in the writer’s craft, and features seminars, workshops, readings and manuscript consultations.

Sessions include novel, short story, poetry, nonfiction, journalism and special sessions such as writing about science and medicine.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to start a new project or develop your current work with the help of distinguished writers, editors, agents and publishers,” said Anne Greene, director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference.

Faculty include Amy Bloom, Roxana Robinson, Alexander Chee, and William Finnegan of The New Yorker, as well as many others. To register, or apply for a scholarship, visit the conference website.

Jazz Quartet Stanley Maxwell to Perform World Premieres March 1 at Russell House

Jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell will perform at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House.

Jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell will perform at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House.

Wesleyan’s “Music at the Russell House” series concludes with a free concert by the Connecticut-based jazz quartet Stanley Maxwell at 3 p.m. March 1 in the Russell House. The group plays music that blends tight arrangements with intricate group improvisations. The concert at Wesleyan will feature acoustic arrangements of original tunes from the past decade, including several world premieres.

Stanley Maxwell's Andy Chatfield, pictured second from left, composed several original tunes for the group that will make their world premier at the March 1 concert. (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)

Stanley Maxwell’s Andy Chatfield, pictured second from left, composed several original tunes for the group that will make their world premiere at the March 1 concert. (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)

Stanley Maxwell features the CFA’s Press and Marketing Director Andy Chatfield on drums, Mark Crino on bass, Eric DellaVecchia on alto saxophone, and Evan Green on piano.

The group has built a grassroots name for themselves at colleges and festivals throughout the northeast since 2001, combining the virtuosic and the simple into a visceral concoction, which helped lead to their winning “Best Jazz Band” in the Hartford Advocate’s Grand Band Slam Readers’ Poll in 2007, 2009, and 2010.

“Mousetrap,” an 11-bar blues written by pianist Evan Green, was influenced by Thelonious Monk, and was featured on Stanley Maxwell’s debut album Don’t Wake The Baby!  The band’s recording of the composition attracted international attention, including “Mousetrap” winning “Best Jazz Song” at the 7th annual Independent Music Awards in December 2007. The band also won the Relix Magazine November 2007 “JamOff” contest for unsigned artists, with “Mousetrap” featured on that month’s Relix CD sampler, included with over 100,000 issues of the internationally distributed magazine, dedicated to jam bands and improvisational music.

A Body in Fukushima: Photo, Video Exhibit on Display at 3 CFA Galleries

Patrick Dowdey, curator for the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies gallery, introduced the <em>Body in Fukushima</em> exhibit Feb. 5.

Patrick Dowdey, curator for the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies gallery, introduced the Body in Fukushima exhibit Feb. 5.

A Body in Fukushima, a series of color photographs and video presented in a groundbreaking exhibition across three Wesleyan galleries, is on display through April.

"Eiko in Fukushima, Komagamine No. 146, 17 January 2014," digital photo, 13.3" x 20", photo by William Johnston.

“Eiko in Fukushima, Komagamine No. 146, 17 January 2014,” is on display in the exhibit. (Photo by William Johnston)

The series is an exploration into the area around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which destabilized and melted down after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The power plant released radioactive materials into the surrounding environment.

In 2014, dancer-choreographer Eiko Otake and photographer/historian William Johnston followed abandoned train tracks through desolate stations into eerily vacant towns and fields in Fukushima, Japan. Otake is a visiting instructor in dance and Johnston is professor of history, professor of east Asian studies, professor of environmental studies and professor of science in society.

“By placing my body in these places, I thought of the generations of people who used to live there. I danced so as not to forget,” Otake said. A project of witness, remembrance, and empathy, A Body in Fukushima grapples with the reality of human failure.

The explosions of the Daiichi Power Plant made the area uninhabitable. Sometimes in vulnerable gestures and at other times in a fierce dance, Otake embodies grief, anger and remorse. Johnston’s images capture her with the cries of the Fukushima landscapes.

The works can currently be seen at the Freeman Center for East Asian Studies Gallery, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery and the Davison Art Center Gallery. More hours and more information see the exhibit’s website.

The exhibit features a photo and a video installation.

The exhibit features a photo and a video installation.

Video: Wesleyan Student Assembly Hosts Student Activities Fair

On Feb. 5, the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Community Committee (CoCo) hosted a Student Activities Fair in Beckham Hall. This video documents the diverse range of clubs at Wesleyan, including activism, interests, identities, politics, publications, sports and more. The purpose of this fair was to create a centralized location where clubs could promote themselves to students who may not be aware of what this diverse campus has to offer.

CoCo is chaired by Elizabeth Shackney ’17, who is featured in the video that can be seen below:

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Faculty Curate Picture/Thing Exhibit in Zilkha Gallery

Sasha Rudensky, assistant professor of art, and Jeffrey Schiff, chair and professor of art and art history, curated and introduced the exhibit Picture/Thing Jan. 29 in the  Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Picture/Thing presents 10 artists who make hybrid objects that challenge the taxonomical limits of photography and sculpture at a time when the definitions of the two media continue to evolve.

Sasha Rudensky, assistant professor of art, and Jeffrey Schiff, chair and professor of art and art history, curated and introduced the exhibit Picture/Thing Jan. 29 in the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. Picture/Thing presents 10 artists who make hybrid objects that challenge the taxonomical limits of photography and sculpture at a time when the definitions of the two media continue to evolve.

Sea Animal Photographs on Display in Exley Science Center

An exhibit titled "Wakaya Octocorals and Giants" is on display in Exley Science Center. The 10 photographs in the display were taken by Joshua Boger '73, P'06, P'09 and feature reefs off Wakaya Island in Fiji. Boger has dived these reefs more than 200 times, spending more than a week underwater.

An exhibit titled “Wakaya Octocorals and Giants” is on display in Exley Science Center. The 22 photographs in the display were taken by Joshua Boger ’73, P’06, P’09 and feature reefs off Wakaya Island in Fiji. Boger has dived these reefs more than 200 times, spending more than a week underwater. Pictured is a royal purple soft coral — Alcyonacea — photographed in 2013.

Jenkins Reviews Book on Famed Artist Lempad in Jakarta Post

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins

Ron Jenkins ’64, professor of theater, published a review of Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line in the Jan. 19 edition of the Jakarta Post. Jenkins had high praise for the book, which contains pictures of the works of Balinese architect and artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad.

Jenkins wrote, “the aptly titled volume illuminates not only the exquisite lines of Lempad’s artwork, but also the intangible elements of Balinese identity that those lines represent.”

In addition to describing some of the noted works, Jenkins also commended the depth and insightfulness of the essays that accompanied each work. The essays were written by a team of scholars lead by the acclaimed Indonesian cultural researcher and author Bruce Carpenter.

Read the full review here.

 

Writing at Wesleyan Announces Spring Series on Prose and Poetry

Writing at Wesleyan announces the Spring 2015 Russell House Series on Prose and Poetry.

Writer/authors in the Spring 2015 series include Ron Padgett on Feb. 25, Millett Fellow Caryl Phillips on March 4, Sadia Shepard on March 25, Rowan Ricardo Phillips on April 1 and Ruth Ozeki on April 8.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on these talks visit the Writing at Wesleyan website.

Support for this series is provided by Writing at Wesleyan, the English Department, the Annie Sonnenblick Fund, the Joan Jakobson Fund, the Jacob Julien Fund, the Millett Writing Fellow Fund, the Center for the Arts, and the Shapiro Creative Writing Center.

The 2014/2015 Series organizers include Lisa Cohen, associate professor of English; Elizabeth Willis, the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing; Amy Bloom, the Kim-Frank Family University Writer-in-Residence; and Anne Greene, director of Writing Programs.