The Wellin Museum of Art presents two concurrent exhibitions that offer new perspectives on perception, memory, history, and geography. A Sense of Place features 16 artists from around the world who address diversity in a global context. You Can Fall: The War of the Mourning Arrows (An Introduction to the Americas and a Requiem for Willem Ferdinand) is a solo exhibition of work by Frohawk Two Feathers, an artist who explore the legacies of imperialism through a complex re-imagining of colonialism.
A Sense of Place presents works in which impressions and memories share equal weight with the physical geographies that inspire them. Featuring emerging and established artists from across the globe, who work in a range of media, the exhibition depicts sites that are both real and imagined to probe how a particular time and place is experienced and remembered. The exhibition includes works by Rhona Bitner, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Omer Fast, Joe Fig, Coco Fusco, Pablo Helguera, Hong Seon Jang, Yun-Fei Ji, Nina Katchadourian, Jessica Mein, Almagul Menlibayeva, Deimantas Narkevicius, Saul Robbins, Casey Ruble, and Yinka Shonibare MBE and Jade Townsend.
The Wellin has also commissioned a site-specific installation by Jade Townsend for the exhibition entrance. Townsend will create a large-scale, immersive work that compresses the foyers of four imagined suburban homes to create a familiar, yet destabilizing experience.
“A Sense of Place represents a range of perspectives exploring what localism and regionalism mean in a global context,” said Tracy L. Adler, exhibition curator and director of the Wellin. “The concept was driven by the Wellin as a new facility on a campus steeped in 200 years of tradition. Hamilton’s location and history also inspired Frohawk Two Feathers, whose solo exhibition will feature five new works that respond directly to this region’s history.”
You Can Fall, curated by Mary Birmingham, is the newest chapter in Two Feathers’s chronicle of the struggles between two imaginary superpowers—the Frenglish Empire and the Kingdom of Holland and Zeeland—in the late 18th century. Based on extensive research into the history, geography, and indigenous populations of present-day New York and New Jersey, Two Feathers has created narrative battle scenes and maps on faux-aged paper; flags of the warring nations; paintings on hand-stretched animal hide; ethnographic artifacts including intricately decorated drums, a helmet and mask; and ink-and-acrylic portraits of the story’s main protagonists, which reference and destabilize the tropes of 18th- and 19th-century European portraiture.
The exhibition, which originated at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, features new objects made specifically for the Wellin’s presentation. These include two advertisements from the Imperial Frenglish North American Company, which urge colonists to take up arms against the Dutch; a portrait of one of the protagonists; a pictographic drawing depicting the siege of Fort Ferdinand; and a death mask for a female resistance leader.
Two Feathers’ protagonists are of varied ethnicities and races, and emphasize women in leadership positions to counter the Eurocentric, male-dominated history of Western civilization. He connects these characters to the present by borrowing elements of contemporary fashion and tattoos from gang and street culture. Appropriating urban slang and hip hop lyrics for his titles, the artist draws attention to the way events are remembered, shared, and celebrated in the American psyche.
Rhona Bitner, Mandy Cano Villalobos, Omer Fast, Joe Fig, Coco Fusco, Pablo Helguera, Hong Seon Jang, Yun-Fei Ji, Nina Katchadourian, Jessica Mein, Almagul Menlibayeva, Deimantas Narkevicius, Saul Robbins, Casey Ruble, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, and Jade Townsend.
The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College promotes interdisciplinary research and the cross-fertilization of concepts and ideas vital to a liberal arts education. The museum works with emerging and established artists and collaborates with Hamilton students and faculty to develop programming promoting a wide range of disciplines.