Photographs by India Halsted
Written by Nicolas Lopez-Alegria
On the evening of April 11, Ratrock’s Spring Call to Artists brought together campus creatives around the theme Hindsight. Honoring the inclusive philosophy of CTA, Ratrock exhibited at least one work from each student who submitted to the call.
A large and shining tower composed of mirrors stood in the middle of the room, with shards of glass, aluminium foil, and glitter scattered about its feet. The central structure and its many reflections not only stood as a testimony to the theme, but also organized the space by encouraging viewers to walk around it and visit the gallery concentrically. In the back, the Ratrock banner hung proudly behind a music stage. Elizabeth Bailey BC ‘22 opened the gallery by performing two original titles “Man on the Moon” and “Sex Dream” alongside CHKY bandmate Colby Lamson-Gordon – a great success with the audience. Visitors crowded around the stage and began to dance; even when roaming around the gallery, their attention was guided to the captivating live performance.
After Elizabeth and Colby’s performance, the lights dimmed and the gallery became more intimate. The pieces were lit individually, encouraging viewers to group around them, study them more closely perhaps, and begin conversation. The walls were covered in student work of different mediums – photography, paintings, mixed media, and even jewelry. Scattered between the pieces hung small mirrors, bringing the viewer to encounter their own reflection from time to time. Words also filled the gallery space, like the poems of Jazmin Maco, whose work “Jam-ai-ca” called for remembering and reconnecting. Noelle Penas’ vibrant orange and red paintings of a feline were backlit with neons, endowing them with a striking nocturnal quality which integrated them well into the low-light environment. Mia Greenberg created pendant, resin pieces almost like necklaces, that reflected on the reification of women. Each of them was composed of a translucent tile within which was caged a magazine cutout of a naked woman, with string tying up her limbs. In the back of the room, a tall oil painting with a mirror for background had been serendipitously left to dry overnight by an student taking a course in the same room.
Replacing Elizabeth under the Ratrock banner, a DJ station with large amplifiers was set by the Ratrock staff. The mixing table was draped with a large reflective cover whose crinkled metallic aspect gave the music corner a retro-UFO feel. After a soft, electronic mix by Ben Bieser, Chadwick MacMillan bathed the large space with an underground atmosphere through their house music. Next to Chadwick, a turnstyle decked with Ratrock’s hand-printed tote bags was gradually emptying its racks.
Above all, CTA Hindsight’s most captivating aspect was the students’ many different interpretations of the theme. Some students pondered on the meaning of afterthought in writing, like Sophie Lee. Other work focused as much on the form as it did on the content: many artists such as Ellen Alt and Eliza Jouin used analog photography to whisk the viewer away into the nostalgic adventures of their pasts. Also a photographer, Calvin Hsiao-Sen Yoshiki Liang documented the slow, contemplative flow of nature with his landscapes. And finally, some found literal inspiration in Hindsight, like Margaret Maguire who presented three pictures of hinds.
Altogether, CTA Hindsight impeccably showcased both the talent and diversity of artists in the Barnard/Columbia community, and Ratrock’s continued effort to create engaging spaces for art on campus.