The Wallace L. Anderson Gallery is small, and perhaps hidden if you don’t venture into the Bridgewater State University art building. However, the exhibit housed inside is anything but ordinary.
“Mechanical Life” is an exhibit on display until November 7. It brings together three artists to create a unique display of social commentaries using found objects.
The idea of “Mechanical Life” is one that brings together two opposites, machine and the technological, with the living and biological.
“Mechanical life by nature is an oxymoron,” said exhibit curator Jay Block. “Since the beginning of time we’ve made machines to extend our ability. It’s a transference of energy, merging progressively with the mechanic and organic.”
Block included Tom Haney, J.Shea and Nemo Gould in this exhibit. These artists all have different styles and their work speaks to their individual techniques, but there is a cohesiveness that links them together.
Haney creates hand carved wooden sculptures of people with other found objects to create a scene. These scenes all have mechanical, moving elements. According to Block, Haney’s pieces are the most traditional of the three artists. He gives life to a machine, and makes you empathize with it.
Shea’s artwork has more of a rough, more recycled, sewn-together look. Block said Shea’s pieces are meant to convey emotions, all the same issues that we as humans go through. They are universal themes such as failure, hope, and despair.
“I enjoy the process of finding strange parts and objects for my work just about anywhere,” said Shea in an artist statement from the Anderson Gallery exhibit book. “Some of it is found on the street…tarnished, weathered and run over…I find beauty in these objects…”
Block said Gould’s work focuses on the golden age of science fiction and that he has a 1950s to 1960s sensibility that robots are the world.
“We were promised ‘space’: robots, saucers, but it never happened,” Block said
Gould takes found objects and creates a world inside of them, like an old radio, or garlic press. His pieces have a science fiction feel.
“I take silly very seriously,” said Gould in an artist statement for the Anderson Gallery exhibit book.
“Artists by nature are very thrifty,” Block said, “[Found art is a] wholesale recycling movement in a way. Nemo calls himself an eco-sculptor. [The artists have a ] mix of thriftiness for lack of finances and social responsibility.”
Block said the biggest takeaway for students from this exhibit is simply a smile. Have fun and pause because you are seeing something that is new.
“I’m very pleased with this,” Block said, “People seem to be amused.”
Molly Bello is a Comment staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.