DVSSS explores the art of storage and collecting

Thirty-two lockers in the CCT Building have been repurposed to house mini art galleries

At the end of a quiet, narrow hallway on the third floor of the CCT Building, just left of room 3053, the afternoon sun filters through a large window. It peeks tentatively into the 32 two-tiered lockers that have been transformed into individual art galleries by the Department of Visual Studies Student Society for their current exhibition, Caché: re[collecting].

On a wall parallel to the lockers, the theme of the exhibition is written in black vinyl lettering. While last year’s exhibition, Caché: things we keep, explored the tensions between private and public spaces, Caché: re[collecting] is about the revival and preservation of items accumulated absentmindedly. The locker becomes a space where “streams of remembrance convene to a safe destination”. The pieces show collecting as a desperate act of holding on to that which can’t be held. They speak of the capriciousness of the material form.

The open lockers beg the curious passerby to explore their dark recesses. One locker is lined with layers of unfamiliar smiling faces—glossy photographs of someone else’s friends. In another locker, an inconspicuous purple butterfly perches on the cast fingers of a gently curved hand.

Kendra McPherson, a soon-to-be graduate of the art and art history program, created locker 17’s “Mountain Distortion”. A small motion-activated light illuminates a nearly invisible booklet of plastic magnifying sheets and clear acetate. The bluish glow catches the sharp edges and steep inclines on each “page”, cut to suggest jagged landforms. When gazing through the piece, the magnifying sheets distort the different layers.

“My piece is about changing landforms and how geographic lines are redefined by politics, society, and economic factors and how they are constantly being redrawn upon a physical landscape,” McPherson explains. She has etched arbitrary lines into the arbitrary landscape she’s created, emphasizing the subjectivity of perception and the mutability of boundaries.

“Maps” by Cherie Novecosky, a first-year art and art history student and the DVSSS committee’s executive chair, draws viewers in with the whimsical arrangement of maps on the locker’s door. A mobile of string and photographs of rural and urban scenes hangs from the ceiling of the locker, and a piece of wood on its floor reads, “Be where you want to be, NOW.” Novecosky has supplied viewers with a small jar, squares of paper, and a blue marker so they can write the names of the places they want to be and put them in the jar for safekeeping. “Maps” is a piece that asks individuals to be in two places at once. It uses imagination to subvert the constraints of distance and time.

Novecosky also noted the novelty of having an art gallery near the art and art history professors’ offices.

The pieces in Caché subvert the locker’s usual role as a place of safety and closure, turning them into liminal spaces, neither here nor there, pervaded by turmoil and anxiety.

Caché: re[collecting] will run until April 2.