by Grant Veltman

Among conversations between Denison students are discussions about parts of campus yet to be explored, hidden gems awaiting their arrival. For some,  the Denison Museum is one such undiscovered gem. Located on the ground floor of Burke Recital Hall, the Denison Museum boasts first-class resources that make rearranging for new exhibits a concept unlimited in possibility.

This past Tuesday, September 21st, the Denison Museum hosted the opening reception for “Personal Space,” a collection of works by five New York artists created from a myriad of artistic means. Closely related to the first-year class theme of real utopias,  “Personal Space” displays pieces seeking to evoke a raw emotional response. “True to it’s title, [the exhibit] explores very personal facets of life: anxiety, fear, trauma, and binaries like fantasy/reality, utopia/dystopia,” said Marisa Zemesarajs, an attendee of the reception.

Walking across the hardwood museum floor, with each footstep echoing back, one receives a near instant mix of affecting responses from the exhibit as a whole. “The exhibit was curated by Tommy White, a professor in the studio art department,” Zemesarajs explained, “thus the art theory in the exhibit really shows.” Each work was created by unique means, living in the form of videos, collages, plaster, and sculptures made from steel, wood, and Styrofoam. An eclectic assortment of this degree succeeds in sparking an intimate reaction.

Reinforcing the prospect of the viewer’s reaching the most personal response, Dr. White has set up the gallery in the simplest of fashions. Said Zemesarajs, “Unlike the usual museum aesthetic, there are no labels around the artwork.” The absence of any background information for the artwork shapes a truly one-on-one experience between the audience and the art. In turn, this art-viewer relationship makes for the most unbiased interpretations from the viewer, avoiding influence from added information.

“Personal Space” has generated a healthy buzz within the Denison community, which Zemesarajs credits to the notion of the exhibit being “art of our time.” Remaining open and free to the public until December 7th, “Personal Space” leaves ample time to be observed by students, faculty, and civilians alike.