Etruscan Exhibit is in Full Force

February 5, 2009 by · Comments Off 

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Student Musicians Go Euro

October 24, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Ashleigh Reuter
areuter@smu.edu

Meadows students gave a musical rendition of 20th century French and Spanish composers Thursday night in the Bob Smith Auditorium in the Meadows Museum. The audience consisted of mostly students and older groups. Almost every seat was taken.

Dr. Donna Mayer-Martin, an SMU music history professor, introduced the performance with historical backgrounds of two French composers, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, and one Spanish composer, Manuel De Falla. She said the compositions reflected the impressionist and classical styles that were popular in Paris during the early 1900s.

The professor used film and sound clips to illustrate the composers’ cultural relationship, in an effort to help the audience recognize the connections and distinctions between French and Spanish techniques utilized in the following student performance.

One student in the audience, Sarah Lindig, said the performance was lively and interesting. She really enjoyed hearing the French and Spanish influence in the songs.

Student Francesco Mastromatteo played the cello and was accompanied by student pianist Alberto Peña, who played the piano. The two musicians played five songs by Manuel De Falla. The songs ranged from soft and peaceful harmony to loud and fast tempos.

Peña had a solo as he performed three pieces from Claude DeBussy. All the compositions were longer in length, with a peaceful pace interjected with moments of strong rhythm.

Finally, Marice Ravel’s compositions were performed by Peña and student violinist Lynda O’Connor. The two musicians had solos during the songs, and later complemented each other while playing simultaneously. The violin added an element of intensity and drama to the songs.

“I thought the students were incredible,” student attendee Becca Lovelace said.

Arts Beat: ‘Manet to Miró’ Stirs the Imagination

October 1, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Samantha Urban

I’ve been to the? “From Manet to Miró: Modern Drawings from the Abelló Collection” exhibit at Meadows Museum twice now. Since it runs until December 2, I’ll probably visit the exhibit again several times. The exhibit is important because the drawings on display are from one of Spain’s biggest and most private collections (that of Juan Abelló and his wife, Anna Gamazo), not to mention that the exhibit marks the first time the Abelló collection has been shown in the United States. But that’s not why I love it.

I love this exhibit because it provokes my imagination. I’m allowed to giddily take in the sketches and watercolor works of some of my favorite artists, like Manet and Renoir, and imagine how they would be fleshed out into a fully realized painting. And though the sketches and drawings seem deceptively simple, they still evoke the artists’ power and talent enough to make you imagine the subjects of the works coming to life within the canvas.

Plus, the Meadows Museum has wonderfully supplemented the exhibit with works that were already in possession of the museum. The additional works, particularly those of the sculptors and Joan Miró, flow nicely with the main exhibit.?

Since the exhibit runs through the end of the semester, there’s no excuse to miss it! Go and give yourself the pleasure of glimpsing into the minds of some of the world’s greatest artists.

Symphony Orchestra Embodies Earth with Sound

September 19, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Lauren Atkinson
latkinson@smu.edu

All eyes are on conductor Dr. Paul Phillips as he directs the practice of the Meadows Symphony Orchestra. An untrained ear may not hear the problems he is fixing. The artistry of instruments fills the air full and rich, engulfing the emotions of a listener. But Phillips picks up on the trumpet’s eight note and stops the orchestra to correct the problem.

In practices like this, tedious attention to detail is crucial to create the mesmerizing performances that the orchestra has given in the past. Each section is broken down, leaving no note untouched—thus proving practice makes perfect. But despite the constant constructive criticism, the atmosphere is lighthearted.

“You get a golden star today,” Phillips jokes to one musician who kept eyes on him through an entire movement. For a brief moment, laughter erupts in the auditorium. Order is quickly restored as Phillips announces, “No talking. We are working.”

The orchestra’s fall season opens Friday at 8 p.m. with another performance Sunday at 3 p.m. Each fall concert features works associated with one natural element. This first concert is “earth.” The second, in October, is “water” and the third, in November, is “fire.” All performances will be staged in Caruth Auditorium.

Phillips, who has conducted the orchestra since 1996, created the elements idea by considering a number of potential performance pieces. He hopes to convey the music’s inner meaning to the audience.

“The repertoire changes from concert to concert,” Phillips said. “So, we are constantly changing our artistic and musical presentations.”

The orchestra is made up of undergraduate and graduate students with roughly 70 to 80 students performing at a single time. They utilize a variation of 20 different instruments, and each instrument receives immense attention.

Senior cellist Brian Magnus practices at least 20 hours a week outside of the required, two-hour rehearsals every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I practiced Bach’s fourth all summer long,” the cello player said. “After awhile the piece starts teaching you.”

The 11-year orchestra veteran credits his middle school teacher Mrs. Mollering for his musical passion.

“She changed my life,” he said.

However, not all students had as much backing as Magnus.

“I wanted so badly to play the flute,” orchestra member Kathryn Vinod said. “But, my mom wanted me to play the French horn.”

Eventually, her mother relented, and Vinod has been a flutist for the past seven years.

“Being able to practice with such great players makes me practice more,” Vinod said.

Vinod and the rest of the orchestra will display their hard work at Friday and Sunday’s performance “The Elements: Earth.” For tickets, call 214-768-2787. $13 for adults; $10 for seniors, $7 for students, faculty and staff

Now at the Pollock Gallery: Icelandic Artist’s Take on Textiles

September 18, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Kamille Carlisle
kcarlisl@smu.edu

“Encircling,” Hildur Bjarnadottir’s exhibit, is now on display at the Pollock Gallery, located in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center.

Bjarnadottir, an artist from Iceland, uses paints and various fabrics with her distinctive form of traditional textile creation.

Her pieces featured at the Pollock include hand weaved canvases, some of which incorporate paint or ink, porcelain statues called “My Three Grandmothers,” and lint roller snapshots of 13 women that have played important roles in her life.

“The viewer has to spend time with it, and they have to read the labels,” Bjarnadottir explained.

“Each piece tells its own story and you can look for the little clues of how they are organic and hand-made.”

Pollock Gallery director and Meadows art professor Philip Van Keuren said, “The work is authentic I believe, and all things authentic are valuable to students to study.”

Bjarnadottir’s art has been showcased in a number of exhibits in Iceland, New York, and Portland, Ore., since the late ’90s. She considers her pieces to be paintings, drawings, and sculptures, as she merges aspects of each into certain parts of her work.

Her “doodles,” for example, which have been featured at the Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery in Portland, are pieces of cotton yarn, knitted into pattern-free doilies. They are then filled with flowers and aimless curvy lines, died in blue ink or dipped in graphite powder, which hardens them. They are her version of a drawing on paper.

In her lecture, as the first of the Meadows Artist Lecture Series, on Sept. 11, Bjarnadottir discussed her methods and inspiration. According to her, in Iceland, sewing and woodworking are taught to elementary school-age children and ingrained in the culture.

“My two sisters and I would crotchet in our spare time for fun,” Bjarnadottir said. “It was always something very close to me. My mother taught me to invent.”

She described the value of her heritage and its effect on what she does. Bjarnadottir said that her grandmothers handcrafted everything, from clothing to tapestries, but would put them away and “decorate their houses with mass-produced, made-in-china kinds of figures.”

While she said her craft is sometimes seen as carrying on an old female tradition of sewing, Bjarnadottir sees her work as respectable art.

“Everything I do is elevated, not put away,” she said. “It’s perfectly valuable art. It is actually an advantage.”

At her opening reception last Friday, spectators gathered to have the first look at the free exhibit, which will run until Oct. 11.

Former SMU student and artist Andrew Barner carefully examined each piece, reading the captions.

“I can appreciate her manipulation of the medium,” Barner said. “She’s really good at what she does.”

As people trickled in and out, Bjarnadottir spoke to patrons who had questions or comments.

“I totally enjoy this,” she said. “It’s never redundant and always exciting.”

Meadows Museum Opens “Manet to Miro”

September 14, 2008 by · Comments Off 

By Nadia Dabbakeh
ndabbake@smu.edu

The Meadows Museum is hosting an exclusive showing of one of Spain’s
most prestigious and noted private art collections.

The exhibit, which opened Sunday and runs through Dec. 2, is called
“From Manet to Miró: Modern Drawings from the Abelló Collection.”

The collection consists of 64 modern and contemporary master drawings
spanning over 200 years. The drawings belong to Juan Abelló and his
wife, Anna Gamazo, of Madrid, and are being shown together for the
first time in the United States.

“Seeing them in this breadth, and in this large of an assembly, has
never happened before,” said Mark Roglán, director of the Meadows
Museum.

The drawings are grouped according to artistic movements, including
Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism,
Surrealism, Pop and Contemporary Art.

The exhibit is organized in a way that Roglán calls “intimate” — everything
is hung at eye level, and no drawings are hung on inside walls, so you may
step back and look at the art with ease.

Guillermo Solana, chief curator of the Thyssen-Bornesmisza Museum in
Madrid and curator of “From Manet to Miró,” traveled to Dallas to open
the exhibit.

“Here, we have a wonderful, magnificent space,” Solana told a crowd of
30 at the preview. “In our museum, the drawings were too close to each
other.”

“Now they’re expanded, and pieces have been added that were absent
before, because of lack of space,” he said. “It has made the exhibit
even better.”

The collection is varied and eclectic, Solana said. It includes
everything from abstracts to figures and works from different moments
and movements in art.

It is also universal, he said, because in spite of the large presence
of Spanish art, it also includes prominent masters from France,
Germany, the U.S., and many other countries.

The collection is diverse in terms of style and techniques
represented. It includes drawings in many different mediums such as
graphite, pastels, gouache, ink and more.

Solana said that while many private collections have a singular focus,
this is not that kind. Rather, it is the collection of an open-minded
person who loves every kind of art.

Janis Bergman-Carton, associate professor and chair of the Art History
Department at SMU, said the collection is a must-see for anyone
interested in art.

“It is always valuable for students to have the opportunity to see the
actual works of art in person, because most of the time we only see
them in representation,” Bergman-Carton said. “Especially such a large
collection of drawings, which are much more personal.”

“To stand directly in front of it and get to see all of the
decision-making processes, like what kind of paper was used, or how
expressive the artists brush strokes are … it’s just a wonderful
opportunity.”

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