By Rafael Aguilar ’25
At the end of August, the Colleges’ first exhibit of the 2021-22 school year started with the showing of Telluric Transformations. Rebecca Murtaugh, the John and Anne Fischer Professor of Fine Arts at Hamilton College, presented 25 different sculptures. These sculptures aimed to capture the relation between nature and humanity’s manipulation of it. Entering this fall semester, this acknowledgment of humanity’s connection with the world is necessary, because nature is ever-present.
Murtaugh’s exhibition explores the sculptor’s thought process navigating the world. They present a world in plain view of humans, but also, our blindness to it. Telluric, meaning of or relating to the Earth, is a description of the sculptures which bring varied colors, hues, and textures to its audience.
Telluric Transformations reveals humanity’s capability to shape the world. Murtaugh describes that these sculptures have been pinched, paddled, and shaped to “elicit a desire to touch…to engage our sense of curiosity with the unknown,” attempting to facilitate connections between the viewer and the Earth’s materials; the sculptures needing only creativity and commitment to shape them. The audience engages with the artistry and completes the act: to look through the gaps and see the world as the artist does.
The general success of Murtaugh’s exhibit this month is a hopeful sign that the Davis Gallery, despite COVID-19 restrictions, can deliver on its mission: a resource for students and the greater community to witness, experience, and learn from art and architecture.
Telluric Transformations will be on exhibit until September 25th. The next exhibition: Afrofutures: Before and Beyond will be presented from October 15th to December 1st.