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gallery F welcomes Contemporary Frequency: Women in Today's Arts

Sierra Faye Mitchell's <i>A Realization of Truth</i> is part of the The Contemporary Frequency, on view at the Scarritt-Bennett Center's gallery F through May 21.
Sierra Faye Mitchell's A Realization of Truth is part of the The Contemporary Frequency, on view at the Scarritt-Bennett Center's gallery F through May 21.
Combining contemporary art with social issues is part of director Sabine Schlunk's mission in programming exhibitions at gallery F. That focus also informs the latest show, The Contemporary Frequency: Women in Today's Arts, paintings, photographs and mixed-media work by Robbie Hunsinger, Megan Kelley, Michelle Lewis, Rhendi Greenwell, Sierra Faye Mitchell and Jessica Wohl.
The exhibition remains on view through May 21, with a special celebration in observance of International Women's Day from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. That event will include performances by the Altonetts, an a capella gospel quartet; videos of contemporary dance by former Scarritt-Bennett Center artist-in-residence Perrin Ireland along with Nathalie VanBalen; and African dance by former artist-in-residence Maya Moore.

Hunsinger and Greenwell will perform an interactive, improvisational piece involving oboe, cello and bottles (drawn from Greenwell's installation) at Tuesday's event.

Getting technical

Hunsinger's Emergent Convergence involves photography, musical composition and performance, and coded computer vision. When the exhibition space is empty, the computer monitor displays a black screen. As an attached webcam detects movement, bits of the screen are uncovered to reveal color, which is accompanied by sound culled from audio files of Hunsinger playing her oboe. When visitors find the sweet spot in the room, a particularly melodic tone struck on a ceramic percussive surface resonates through the space.

In an effect Hunsinger likens to crayon-resist drawings wherein the top layer is scratched away to reveal a burst of color underneath, more and more movement results in the revelation of a photographic image.

Hunsinger trained as a classical oboist and performed as a principal in several orchestras while also exploring freeform jazz. Working on sound for a friend's installation piece, she became versed in using electrical sensors to integrate audience involvement; that interest evolved into using coding and computer vision.

Hunsinger is still an active musician, performing with a trio and integrating her instrument into her art. "My plans are to use the oboe and (Xbox 360) Kinect; that's as edgy as I can get," she says of Tuesday's performance.

Unplugged, but still plugged in

While Hunsinger uses the latest technology to create art, there is also the opportunity for more low-tech interaction in The Contemporary Frequency. Visitors can make their own additions to Megan Kelley's Into the Ears of Our Child using markers and fabric set up at a station near one end of the piece. The piece winds through the rooms and consists of pieces of fabric hanging like Himalayan prayer flags from thick twine.

Other works on display include photographer Sierra Faye Mitchell's series of five black-and-white digital portraits contemplating her identity as a black female. In one, two women covered in a chalky white substance stare at each other over their shoulders; one in a platinum blonde wig piled into in an elaborate 18th-century style, the other with hair in a semi-natural, uncombed state.

Jessica Wohl's intricate black ink on glassine drawings spread across one of the gallery's walls, while similar designs cut out of tulle cover the floor. The title of the piece — I Know What Happened — are visible within the patterns of the lavender and blue tulle pieces.

Meanwhile, though she is not exhibiting in gallery F's current show, Schlunk will take part in Tuesday's celebration; she'll hand out flowers in a nod to earlier Women's Day celebrations she observed growing up in the former East Germany.


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