Gallery: Harriet Bart

By Ilana Fogelson

This past Saturday, Harriet Bart’s exhibit, Between Echoes and Silence, held its official opening in Macalester’s recently constructed Law Warschaw Gallery. A number of Mac students were in attendance, but the visitors were primarily comprised of the Twin Cities’ swankier set. Members of the community at large turned up to stroll around the new space, sip wine, and look at Bart’s basic and poignant works. Bart’s work utilizes a number of different materials; including steel, bronze, wood, vinyl, chain and even smoke on paper. Through these different mediums she explores concepts such as “loss, history, and preserved memory” (artist’s statement). All these pieces are accentuated by a partly meditative, partly anxious sound scape “created from the thrumming sound of the striking and stroking of [Bart’s] metal sculpture” (artist’s statement). Perhaps the most memorable piece of the exhibit, Enduring Afghanistan, hangs from the wall directly across from the gallery’s main entrance. Consisting of a large rectangle of chain link, the shape of Afghanistan is formed by carefully placed I.D. tags, corresponding with the location of every soldier killed in action. The names of these fallen soldiers are also meticulously recorded in a ledger filled with Bart’s own, slanted script that rests on a Koran stand in front of the piece. Despite its apparent theme of war and loss, the exhibit is strangely pristine—Bart utilizes a minimalistic style—keeping her displays void of vibrant colors, faces of the fallen, or any other more viscerally human reminders of suffering. Perhaps this is the point she is trying to make, that such instances of loss have the tendency to become compartmentalized and made quantifiable for our viewing pleasure. Instead of personalized pain or memories, we begin see statistics and names without faces. Bart’s own pieces mimic how the consequences of these historical tragedies oddly detach themselves from our realities. As the first exhibit to open with the school year under full swing, Between Echoes and Silence was quite a success. And, as usual, many thanks should be given to Greg Fitz for helping to put together another wonderful display on campus. The exhibit will be on display in the new Janet Wallace building through November fourth. Make sure to check it out and let us know what you think. refresh –>