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April 15, 2008 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-04-15

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.M

8A - Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Southern road
trip inspires show

By MAUREEN SULLIVAN
Daily Arts Writer
School of Art and Design Junior
Cassie McQuater and artist Sam
Strand use colorful language to
describe their colorfully-named
exhibit. "Shit Y'all (Somewhere
There's a River)" is showing at
the Canterbury
House until AprilS
20th.
"The title (Somewhere
of our exhibit There's a
is basically us
acknowledging River)
that we aren't Through
exactly where April20
we want to be
in life right now aerbhry House
and saying 'Shit,C
everyone, I wish
things could have been different,'
" McQuater said in an e-mail inter-
view.
"The second part of the title,
and perhaps the more important
part, 'somewhere there's a river,'
is the idea of hope, really, as if we
know we'll be where we need to be
soon," she said. "Our exhibit really
followed this theme: an initial dis-
appointment followed by the real-
ization that these things happen
and that's OK."
Canterbury House is a campus
church and a venue for the per-
forming and visual arts. Its walls
are covered with the two artists'
work.
The entire exhibit takes on
the feeling of a vintage road
trip - the pieces of art on dis-
play are made with postcards,

maps, scrapbooks and Polaroid
pictures, which capture the dis-
jointed scenes, restless conversa-
tion and soul searching of a long
journey. While the venue is small
and intimate, by the time you've
made your way around the exhib-
it, you'll feel as though you've
traveled quite a bit.
The exhibit was largely influ-
enced by a road trip to the south-
ern states. But mostly, it is made
up of the artists' experiences in
the past year.
"Some of the things we see, the
things we feel, the things people
have done to us (influence our
work)," McQuater said.
Just by looking at the titles of
the pieces, one can gain insight
into the thought process that went
into the exhibit. One piece, for
example, is named, "i should've
listened to my friends and not had
sex with you."
McQuater and Strand met their
freshman year. It was during this
year they worked on their art
individually, yet found themselves
constantly asking each other for
input or suggestions. Over the
next two years, McQuater and
Strand began to collaborate on
their art.
"When you find someone who
sees things the same way as you,
both aesthetically and personally,
it's a really exciting thing when-
ever you sit down to start a project
together," McQuater and Strand
said in an e-mail they wrote
together. "Even when we work
individually, we always talk about
our shit together."

One of the innovative ways they
sort through and reinvent their
individual material is by spread-
ing all their "shit" out in their attic
and looking at it all until inspira-
tion strikes.
"Sometimes the things that
hit us first are words or phrases
and we develop some pictures
to match them," they explained.
"With our photos, we take them
on our own and bring them back
to the house, put them in a huge
pile and play a match game like
War (with the photographs), but
friendlier."
"All of the pictures we took
individually are then combined
in a series that we create, order,
and title together," they said. "We
Despite the title,
this exhibition
is anything but
"shit."
usually make up stories and some
of them are hilarious and some of
them are horrifying and some of
them just work."
Their collaborative thinking is
evident in their work and reminds
the viewer of a conversation
between two close friends - con-
versations that sit on the border
between the confessional and the
whimsical.

GAERIG
From Page 5A
through the prolonged career of
the latest teen craze or just a few
more tickets sold at the Backstreet
Boys reunion tour.
So upon my departure from
Daily Arts, I sentimentally reflect
on all the music that I brutalized
in print and all the hate mail I
received because of it.Butin the
end, that's all my words are actu-
ally worth. Because nothing you
listen to will ever be something to
be ashamed of, and I'll never be
able to convince you that it is.
Gaerig is really sad that
he isn't superior to everyone
reading this. Console him at
gaerig@michigandaily.com.
ARTS IN BRIEF
Fine Arts Preview
Artists reject
community
"Looks Given/Looks Taken"
Through May 15th
At the Institute for the
Humanities

TAPES
From Page 5A
carries itself a little bit better.
The song is an endearing mix
of playful guitar chords, which
give way to a quirky keyboard
breakdown as the song pulls to
a close.
The album's most promising
tracks are - true to form - the
simplest, most straight-forward
efforts. On "Say Back Some-
thing," Grier does his best Win
Butler impersonation as a pair
of uncomplicated strings mingle
over a routine drum beat. Mel-
lowed-out "Anvil" is another
track that carries to fruition the
record's aim of masterful. The
song's slowed tempo adds a cer-
tain depth to Grier's voice that

unfortunately is lackingthrough-
out the rest of the album.
Has Tapes 'n Tapes's early
success via the interwebs for-
ever doomed them to "has-
been" status? That would be a
harsh judgment call. After all,
music appreciation is all about
the love of the art, not who can
name drop the most obscure up-
and-coming band of the year.
Tapes 'n Tapes get this; that may
explain why the band chose to
join an independent U.K. music
label instead of whoring itself
out for a more lucrative record
deal. The band understands that
it's all about the music in the
end, which is why it's a shame
that Walk It Off has demon-
strated that the band is largely
a product of hype, rather than
substance.

4
I

ject or from the subject. In one
photo a kiss is captured, the lov-
ers unaware, while another cou-
ple stares directly at the camera
as they embrace. It is a striking
examination of self-awareness.
Although each photo maintains
this theme of "looks," they are
remarkably varied - an excellent
examination of the significance of

The exhibit is ensconced in a
tiny white room in the Institute
for the Humanities. Even with the
signage (which is meager), it's easy
to miss, tucked into a corner of the
building like an afterthought.
Most of the shots are the work of
photographers closely associated
with the New York Photo League.
The League was a group of young,
mostly Jewish men and women
brought together in the '40s both
by a love for photography and a
desire to escape from the Jew-
ish community they were tied to.
Their photos form a striking mon-
tage, both of their subjects and of
the photographers themselves.
For such a small display, the
photos are impressive. Each photo
is conspicuously observational,
a pointed look either at the sub -

small moment
B
Fine Arts Preview

s of consciousness.
EN VANWAGONER

Russian caricatures
finally revealed
"Caricature and the 1905 Russian
Revolution"
Through April 18th
At the Hatcher Graduate Library,
Library Gallery (Room 100)
In times of political and social
crises, people find ways to speak.
out - and when they do, others
begin to understand history from
the point of view of those who cre-
ated it. Words and art are oftenthe
modes of expression that survive
these kinds of crises. In 1905 Rus-
sia, caricatures became a promi-
nent way for artists to depict the
brutality of the Tsarist regime as
it was happening. Through April
18, illustrative caricatures from
this time period, as well as books
on the Russian Revolution and
caricature censorship, will be put
on display in the gallery room of
the Hatcher Graduate Library.
After Russian censorship con-
trols were uplifted in 1905, an
influx of caricatures in journals
began to circulate the country.

This sudden flourish of artwork
came to a halt in 1906 with the
re-instatement of caricature cen-
sorship. The 80 pieces ofarton dis-
play resonate with the brief period
in history when this form of free
speech was accepted, and feelings
of hostility people felt towards the
regime could be openly expressed.
Many of the caricatures are
embedded with political state-
ments on Tsar Nicholas. One such
caricature portrays the abundance
of murder with an illustration of
Tsar Nicholas sitting on a throne
of skulls. Others contain images of
broken bodies, bloody streets and
attacks created by the tsar. The
extensive symbolism of skeletons
and blood speak to the grow-
ing violence that overwhelmed a
nation in search of civil liberties.
"I think seeing artwork that
was suppressed (or prosecuted
afterwards) certainly suggests
that we are getting a glimpse, at
least, of how some people really felt
but often could not safely express
such," said curator Robert Gold-
stein, a professor at Oakland Uni-
versity and University Research
Associate atthe Center for Russian
& Eastern European Studies.
Collectively, the exhibit is
an illustrative story of a society
deprived ofbasichuman rights due
to the rule of an absolutemonarchy.
By accessing this story through
the primary source of caricatures,
the engagement with the subject
becomes more personal, and the
perspective through which we
understand history expands with
the exposure to this trustworthy
form of authenticity.
PRIYA BALI

I I I

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