Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Student Picks: WITCHES - Allure of the Dark

Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Hui Yan '17 discusses her show “Witches: Allure of the dark” which will be on view FRIDAY, February 6 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you here!

Thom O’Connor, American (b. 1937). The Witch, 1972. Aquatint and etching on paper. Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Christopher A. Graf. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1972:30-11

Witches fascinate us. They bridge reality with imagination and their existence has been a topic of debate since the 15th century. Even now, when we no longer believe in the supernatural, we are still attracted to them. Like many of my peers, as a child I anticipated a letter from Hogwarts. Curating this exhibition relieves my disappointment of never receiving the letter.

Albrecht Dürer, German (1471 - 1528). A Witch Riding to the Sabbath, ca. 1500-1501. Engraving printed in black on paper. Gift of Mary Bates Field, class of 1904. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1959:70

Apart from my personal interest, witches remain a popular theme in visual arts. I wish to explore the iconography of witches developed throughout time, from the heinous old lady to the wicked seductress. Imagery of witches first developed prior to the Witch Hunts in the 16th century to identify the nefarious acts that separate them from the ordinary. Later, the theme of witchcraft allowed artists to tap into their subconscious and release their imagination, as seen in Goya's famous etchings Los Caprichos. The exhibition contains a wide range of images, from Albert Durer's A Witch Riding to the Sabbath, which establishes the basic iconography, to Alison Frantz's Surrealist Attalos, which depicts the natural habitat of modern witches. Have fun exploring the Dark and the Occult!

Odilon Redon, French (1840 – 1916). Printed by Auguste Clot, French (1858 – 1936). The Buddha, from L'Estampe Originale, 1895. Lithograph printed in black on Chine appliqué on heavy white wove paper. Purchased with the Museum Acquisition Fund. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1956:3

Many thanks to Maggie Kurkoski and the Cunningham Center for making this show possible and to Professor Brigitte Buettner, my STRIDE advisor.

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