Arif Michael Vega, Staff Writer
The Forum, Mar. 2016
Adjunct instructors Fenella Belle and Stacey Evans displayed their collaborative work Feb. 5. The event was held at McGuffey art center for the monthly “First Friday” in downtown Charlottesville. The center was packed, with hundreds of visitors in the building at a time.
According to Belle, around 1000 visited the exhibit throughout the night. “It is hard to say, but I did have to buy four cases of wine,” she said.
The exhibit, named “Looplab (pling pling),” included draperies, paintings and two interactive installations. One was moving photography, with participants encouraged to step in to the projection with lab coats and different shaped pieces of white paneling. One result was the definitive feeling that the participant was drawn to observe minute portions of the presentation as a separate entity. The second was a magnetic amalgamation of cut-up photographs by Stacey Evans. With this, participants were encouraged to rearrange the photos in any way they saw fit.
Both pieces have been on display at PVCC prior to their re-homing at McGuffey. The projection was on display for “Let There Be Light” and the magnets in the West Gallery of the Dickensen Building.
Looplab is named is an experiment in social feedback loops. The exhibits aimed for the multiplication and expansion of participation, conversation and collaboration. Evans said “It’s kind of circular. If someone steps into it, someone creates something, and it just kind of continues” In the projection piece, called Space Scrambler, participants stand in front of a projector and use large poster-board cards to examine smaller portions of the work, simultaneously focusing and broadening their view of the project. “It’s about pulling somebody in it … to start to transform the space onto these different cards. And then understanding that the more they move in and out, the actual light falling on the card is changing in scale and color. If you distort it in change it, that those small changes impact the overall scene.”
This experiment echoes the famous 1999 essay by Donnella Meadows “Leverage Points—Places to Intervene in a System.” In her closing paragraphs, Meadows states:
“It is in this space of mastery over paradigms that people throw off addictions, live in constant joy, bring down empires, get locked up or burned at the stake or crucified or shot, and have impacts that last for millennia.”
The collaboration began about a year ago when Nia Stoddard, a mutual friend and prominent artist suggested it. The two had been working together at PVCC for years and had also collaborated on a summer camp at McGuffey in the past.
Other exhibits for McGuffey’s February First Friday were Jill Jenson’s “Literary Allusions” Jill Kerttula’s “A Walk in the Woods,” Hina Naeem’s “Still Life Paintings” and Russell U. Richards “Women”.
The exhibit will be on display at McGuffey through Feb. 28, with an artist’s talk on the last day.