Ithaca College’s Handwerker Gallery has been transformed into a sensory overload of color, texture and music for its latest exhibition titled “Starting From Scratch.” The exhibition features work by professional artists and includes classic media such as painting, sculpture and photography. It also holds audio and video installations, as well as interactive pieces like a “thinking hut” made of yarn and a magnetic wall with movable features.
The exhibition, curated by Mara Baldwin, director of the gallery, and senior Eleanore Kohorn, is built around the 100-year anniversary of the publication of the novel “Herland” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The utopian novel, considered to be a feminist work, is about three men who come across an island inhabited solely by women. “Starting From Scratch” is based on the novel’s themes of feminism, socialist values and how it is everyone’s responsibility to care about one another in order to achieve a better society, Baldwin said. She said although “Herland” was written a century ago, its message is still relevant today.
“What I think is so relevant and inspiring … [is] it still has these themes of human longing, desire, frustration … but it leaves a door to walk through at the end,” Baldwin said. “I think that’s something that a lot of students are looking for … A lot of themes in the exhibition are ones that have come up in the past year with student activism … just about who we are, what our frustrations are, how those frustrations are heard and identified, and thinking about what steps are necessary to take action and make those changes.”
The exhibition has been in the works since the spring of 2013 when Baldwin proposed her concept for it to the Handwerker Gallery faculty advisory council. This past summer, she brought on Kohorn, who has worked in Handwerker for a year, to assist in curating and installing “Starting From Scratch.”
“It’s been a great experience,” Kohorn said. “I think a lot about this show is very interactive. There’s the magnet wall and the little hut you can go into, and I think it invites students to come in and interact with the exhibit.”
“Starting From Scratch” will be featured in the Handwerker Gallery until Sept. 25. There will be “Artist Talks” at 6 p.m. Sept. 3, 17 and 24.