Arts & Culture

East Asia’s Religion, Folkore Shared at New Student-Curated CEAS Exhibit

NOTM logo for web
Uncover the hidden stories of East Asia’s religion and folklore at a new exhibit, “Not of This World,” at the College of East Asian Studies’ gallery. To inaugurate the new College of East Asian Studies, students curated this exhibition of the most compelling artworks from the college’s collection.

“Not Out of This World” is on display Sept. 10-Dec. 5 and features aesthetically pleasing pieces that reveal spiritual worlds filled with love, betrayal and faith.  A ghost woman who searches for her husband, an immortal trapped in a peasant’s body, and a wheel that spins prayers are examples of the East Asian artwork displayed that weave the supernatural with mystical elements.

The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. The gallery will be closed Oct. 18-21 and Nov. 25-Dec. 2. For more information call 860-685-2330.

Photos of the show’s opening are below: (Photos by Dat Vu ’16)

world1 world2

Telfair’s New Landscape Paintings on Exhibit in Zilkha Gallery

Tula Telfair, professor of art, will debut her newest collection of large-scale oil paintings at the Zilkha Gallery Sept. 16.

Tula Telfair, professor of art, will debut her newest collection of large-scale oil paintings at the Zilkha Gallery Sept. 16. Pictured is her painting titled “The Structured Depth of Meaning and Desire,” 2014, 72 x 100 inches.

“A World of Dreams—New Landscape Paintings” by Professor of Art Tula Telfair will be on exhibit Sept. 16 through Dec. 7 at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery. The exhibit’s opening reception will be held 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the gallery.

“Civilization Could Not Do Without It,” 2014, 75 x 100 inches.

A World of Dreams” includes new large-scale paintings in which Telfair presents monumental landscapes and epic-scale vistas that are simultaneously awe-inspiring and intimate. She combines stillness with motion, solitude with universality, and definition with suggestion in her bold and quiet works. This is her second exhibition in the Zilkha Gallery.

All paintings are oil on canvas.

“The work for this show is entirely different. The subjects are different, the techniques are different in each painting, and from piece to piece,” she explained. “There is a lot of diversity of images in this exhibition that reflect a broad range of environments from the Antarctic to the jungles of Africa to rolling fields and soaring mountains. There are a full range of landscapes.”

Telfair’s contemporary paintings demonstrate the spirit and potency

Student Music Scene Celebrated at THE MASH (with Photo Gallery)

More than 20 student bands participated in THE MASH on Sept. 5. Inspired by Fete de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, the third-annual event highlighted the student music scene at Wesleyan and kicked off the year-long campus and community-wide Music & Public Life initiative.

Bands performed concurrently on stages at Olin Library, the Butterfields, North College and at the base of Foss Hill.

Bands and soloists included Jacob & The Masters, Quasimodal, David Stouck, Mixolydians, Andrew Hove, Slavei, all-caps LADD, Materiq, Trillion Dollar Boys Club (Butts Reunion Tour 2k14), jdv plus™, MFDP, Don Froot, Mazel Tones, Sam Wasn’t There, Veeblefetzer, Rhys feat. Matt Chilton, Isaac Butler-Brown, Tomato Goblin, Jack and Katie, Banjoshi and Chef. The faculty-staff band, Smokin’ Lilies, also performed.

THE MASH is co-sponsored by the Center for the Arts, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Green Street Arts Center. (Photos by Harry Jiang ’18, Gabe Rosenberg ’16 and Jack Gorlin ’16)

The MASH, Sept. 5, 2014. (Photo by Harry Jiang '18)

The MASH, Sept. 5, 2014. (Photo by Harry Jiang '18)

Writing at Wesleyan Announces Spring Russell House 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.

Students Express Gender at Bend it at Beckham

Wesleyan students participated in Bend it at Beckham Aug. 29 in Beckham Hall. Students were encouraged to bend the gender binary by expressing gender through a variety of ways. The party was DJ’d by Ron Jacobs ’16 and Abhimanyu Janamanchi ’17. (Photos by Harry Jiang ’18)


Shinohara’s Monotypes to be Exhibited at Plantsville Gallery

Supp. Image_Opus-12_monotype_12x11_2008The work of Keiji Shinohara, artist-in-residence of art, artist-in-residence of East Asian studies, will be exhibited at a gallery in Plantsville, Conn., Oct. 4-31.

The exhibition at Paris in Plantsville Gallery, titled, “Whispers of the Infinite: The Art of Keiji Shinohara,” represents the first time that Shinohara’s monotypes will have been exhibited in the United States. An opening reception will be held Oct. 4 from 6-9 p.m.

Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Shinohara trained for 10 years as an apprentice under the renowned artist Keiichiro Uesugi, and became a Master Printmaker. Shinohara then moved to the U.S., and has been teaching at Wesleyan since 1995. He has been a visiting artist at more than 10 venues, and had 40 solo shows, both in the U.S. and Japan.

His nature-based abstractions are printed on handmade kozo paper using water-based pigment onto woodblocks in the ukiyo-e style, the traditional Japanese printmaking method dating to 600 CE. Though Shinohara employs ancient methods in creating his woodblock prints, he also diverges from tradition by experimenting with ink application and different materials to add texture to his prints. He personally executes all the steps involved in the printmaking process, from carving the woodblock to printing by hand. Elegantly understated, these works are a fusion of Japanese aesthetic and Western modernism.

See more images from the exhibition below.

Supp. Image_Opus-14_monotype_12x11_2010Supp. Image_Opus-20_monotype_12x11_2011

Bloom’s Novel Lucky Us on Success, Luck, Big Dreams, Scandals

New book by Amy Bloom.

New book by Amy Bloom.

Amy Bloom, the Distinguished University Writer-in-Residence and director of the Shapiro Center for Creative Writing, is the author of a novel, Lucky Us, published in July 2014 by Random House.

Disappointed by their families, Iris, a hopeful star and Eva the sidekick, journey through 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris’s ambitions take the pair across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, and to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine though a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Lucky Us is a resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life, conventional and otherwise.

In celebration of her book release, Bloom will be speaking Sept. 2 at the Society Club in London, and Sept. 3 at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.

Bloom’s stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and numerous anthologies here and abroad. She has written for The New Yorker, Thee New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue, Slate and Salon, among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award.

Former Artist-in-Residence Redpath Remembered for Teaching Folklore

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of

Jean Redpath (Photo courtesy of

Jean Redpath, a Scottish-born singer who delighted audiences worldwide and was described by The Boston Globe as “something very close to Scotland’s folk singer laureate,” died Aug. 21 at age 77. She brought her musical talent and extensive knowledge of Scottish history to Wesleyan and the Middletown community as an artist-in-residence in the 1970s.

According to her official website, Redpath arrived in the United States in 1961 with $11 in her pocket.

Whedon ’87 Is Subject of New Biography

Joss Whedon '87 delivered Wesleyan's Commencement address in 2013.

Joss Whedon ’87 delivered Wesleyan’s Commencement address in 2013.

Award-winning film and television director, producer and writer Joss Whedon ’87 is the subject of the informative and entertaining Joss Whedon: The Biography (Chicago Review Press) by Amy Pascale, a director at MTV.

The book begins by tracing Whedon’s growth from a creative child and teenager who spent years away from his family at an elite English boarding school (Winchester College in Hampshire), through his early successes—which often turned into frustration in television (Roseanne) and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The biography then covers his breakout career turn as the creator, writer, and director of the highly successful Buffy television series, which garnered a passionate fan base.

Book about Josh Whedon '87.

Book about Josh Whedon ’87.

Following Buffy, Whedon directed, produced or wrote more television series (Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse and the current ABC hit Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), several movies, Marvel comic books, and an innovative web series, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which gave him his first Emmy win. He went on to direct and write The Avengers film in 2012, which earned a worldwide box office of $1.5 billion. He followed this blockbuster with his film of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, a critically acclaimed personal project shot in black-and-white at his home with a cast of friends.

One of the chapters of the biography deals with Whedon’s time at Wesleyan, where he majored in film. As an undergraduate, he further developed his keen interest in gender studies and feminism. He also wrote a paper on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, which focused on four themes: the Watcher, the Watched, Isolation, and the Role of the Viewer, themes that would appear in his own creative work. Whedon became a TA for film classes and made a student film. He studied with Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of English Emeritus, and with Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, who says: “His lectures were absolutely brilliant. They had … a kind of poetry that showed how his heart and soul really understood the medium, as well as his brain … He wasn’t just intellectually sharp about film, he was also emotionally, creatively sharp about it.”

Pascale conducted extensive interviews with Whedon and his family, friends, collaborators and stars, resulting in candid, behind-the-scenes accounts of the making of his groundbreaking TV series and films, and new stories about his work with Pixar writers and animators during the creation of Toy Story.

Two Whistler Drawings from DAC to Be Featured in PBS Documentary

Open Access Image from the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University

Whistler’s sketch showing how his Venice works should be exhibited in 1880

Two drawings by James McNeill Whistler, part of the Davison Art Center’s collection of more than 100 Whistler works, will be shown in a new documentary on the life of the painter.

The sketches, one in pencil and one in pen and ink, will be seen in “James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty,” premiering September 12 on PBS.

They represent just a small part of Wesleyan’s extensive holdings of works on paper by Whistler, one of the most important American artists of the 19th century.

“Whistler was crucial in making the connection between the Impressionists and British art, and … American art,” said Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center and adjunct assistant professor of art history. “While he worked mostly in Europe, he was incredibly important in creating that link.”

Neither sketch is large – unlike finished prints or paintings, both were for Whistler’s personal use and not intended to be seen by a larger audience. They are, however, interesting glimpses of an artist at work. The pencil sketch, measuring at just 4.4 by 6.9 inches, represents his ideas about displaying his famous landscape prints of Venice at an 1880 exhibit by the Fine Arts Society in London.

Basinger Remembers Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

Jeanine Basinger, Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies, curator of the Cinema Archives, reflected on the life of actress Lauren Bacall, who died this week at age 89. When Bacall’s acting career began as a young woman in the 1940s, Basinger said, “She was a legend from the very first minute…And she was so unique–her looks, her style, her voice.”

Although Bacall was dismissed by some critics early on, Basinger said, the longevity and quality of her career proved that she “wasn’t just an appendage to Humphrey Bogart.”

Read the full story in The Chicago Tribune here.

Professor of Art John Frazer Remembered for Teaching, Painting, Films

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He's pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings. (Photo by Olivia Bartlett)

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, taught drawing and film classes at Wesleyan from 1959 to 2001. He’s pictured here in his Middletown studio with two of his own still life paintings.

John Frazer, professor of art, emeritus, died July 7 at the age of 82.

“Generations of Wesleyan students knew John as a gifted teacher of students at all levels of artistic ability,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Throughout his career on the Wesleyan faculty, from 1959 to 2001, Frazer introduced hundreds of Wesleyan students to the art of drawing, painting and film. He taught the first filmmaking courses at Wesleyan and continued this teaching until the Film Program, which he helped found, became independent of the Art Department. His influence lives on through his endowment of the John Frazer Instructor of Drawing position in the Department of Art and Art History. The John Frazer Visiting Artist Endowment Fund was established in 1999 and endowed in his honor through the generosity of the Andrus family.