Daily 49er

“Becomings” invites viewers to intermingle with art and color

The student art gallery creates bright and complex colors through the viewers.

%22Becomings%22+features+colorful+displays+and+shadows+by+Mimi+Haddon.+%0A

"Becomings" features colorful displays and shadows by Mimi Haddon.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

"Becomings" features colorful displays and shadows by Mimi Haddon.

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Walking through the Max L. Gatov East Gallery of the fine arts building, what stood out most in the dramatically lit room filled with silk sculptures was, oddly enough, my own shadow.

“Becomings” is one of the exhibitions featured in the School of Art’s student galleries this week. It forces attendees to see themselves as a part of the art and walk the line between being the viewer and being viewed.

“It’s intended to be an interactive space,” Mimi Haddon, third year fiber art major said. “The viewer is immediately implicated in the participation of the space just in terms of having their shadows cast on the wall.”

The gallery serves as Haddon’s Master of Fine Art thesis, and is her final project in the program before graduating in December.

Haddon achieves the feeling of immersion through every detail of the gallery. The shadows, the lights, the sculptures hanging from the ceiling and even the ambient music playing in the background all contribute to the sense of involvement from the viewer.

“The music is another entryway to creating an immersive environment,” Haddow said. “The music is a one-minute mandolyn piece that my daughter is playing… a friend of mine stretched [it] to nine minutes to make it more ethereal.”

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er
The colorful displays were made possible by the different colored lights in the corner of the room.

In just the time I was exploring, multiple people entered to play with their shadows and take pictures of themselves, becoming one with the art. These photos take on their own life, creating colorful silhouettes throughout the room and intermingling with the sculptures’ shadows.

“I’m really intrigued with light and the colored shadows that are created by the RGB light, and so

I’m kind of creating temporary paintings on the walls with the light,” Haddon said.

This effect was achieved by placing different color spotlights in one corner of the room and posing objects in the gallery’s center, casting multicolored shadows from the viewers walking through.

While the setup seems simple, Haddon worked consistently for the past year to achieve her goal: perfection.

The exhibit extended throughout the Max L. Gatov West gallery where multiple silk sculptures were on display. The room’s central piece was one red U-shaped sculpture sprawled across the floor.

“You don’t know what body it is but you’re looking at a body on the floor in the second room,” Haddon said. “Just kind of by looking at your own shadow, you’re connecting to that body. That’s kind of the physical element.”

The object’s true form is indistinguishable; viewers are meant to explore the piece instinctively to decipher it. Haddon’s goal was to invite the viewer to use their body to deconstruct and understand the art.

“It discusses just the fact that what lies beneath a skin or a fabric is kind of unknown to our minds, but kind of how possibly, innately in our bodies, we kind of know what lies beneath certain things,” Haddon said. “It’s about using our minds less and our bodies more to kind of know the world around us. It’s just kind of awareness of body.”

Surrounding the red object were other worm-like pieces made of silk both hanging from the ceiling and laid out across the floor. One long yellow piece took over the corner of the room, a pink DNA-shaped sculpture weaved through the red fabric, a red oval hung from the ceiling and a solitary ladder was placed in the corner of the room adorned with pink and red sheer garments to highlight the atmosphere.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er
"Becomings" is featured in the Max L. Gatov East Gallery.

“I was trying to pick up on the natural properties of silk and how it is just a fabric that shows light very well,” Haddon said. “I wanted to take advantage of that and just to kind of make you aware of the light with that fabric.”

“Becomings” will be available for viewing until Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. in the Max L. Gatov Gallery in FA2.

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