The Art and Music Library’s first show of the fall is “Recent Idiosyncrasies” by Anne Havens, a local Rochester multimedia artist.

Like many of the students at UR, I have often run through the gallery annexing the library, barely noticing what I am walking by, focusing solely on the school related task at hand.

In fact the gallery space is largely overlooked despite the fact that every member of the UR community passes by its glass windows at least once a day ? don’t even try to deny what we both know to be the absolute truth.

The works in “Recent Idiosyncrasies” are on first view disorientingly complex.

The simplistic connections one can initially make between the individual pieces, such as a similar medium or similar subject matter, do little to help the viewer decipher Havens’s show.

Though I am incredibly intelligent, I too found Havens’s art daunting ? luckily I have connections in important places and was able to get Havens’s phone number.

Havens began her career later in her life than is typical for most artists.

Twelve years ago, after raising her children, she began her work in art. Havens turned first to sculpture after various personal struggles in her life. What makes her work truly engaging is its obvious originality and skilled craftsmanship despite the fact that she is entirely self-taught.

Moreover, Havens does not buy any of the various materials she works with including ceramic, glass, copper wire, rice paper, exhaust pipes, plastic tubing, wood, silk tissue, wax and many other common objects.

Artist’s ability to assign lengthy and meaningless significance to their works, can leave one questioning how such a flawed language as english is still used.

However Havens is down-to-earth and very real. Her explanations brought out the depth her works posses rather than, what is more often the case, superimposing unrelated meaning upon them.

Most of her art deals with an analysis of the multiplicities of meanings objects can posses.

For instance her repeated use of glass cups in such works as Yearn 2002 and Four Houses 2001, are ‘psychic stand-ins’ for’herself as a person can be seen as a ‘vessel’ or a ‘container’.

In my opinion the works which deal with breath are the most rich. After personal respiratory illness Haven’s connection between breath and life grew and became a temporary part of her artistic process.

In the work Breath/Exhaust 2001, Havens took balloons and filled each as full as possible with a single breath.

She then glued delicate rice paper on them and popped the balloons leaving a fragile cast, similar in appearance to a chinese lantern.

As you walk past the Art and Music Library next time, with those poor substitutes for Starbucks coffees you all clutch so dearly as some sick and sad emblem of class ? consider getting some in reality by going to see “Recent Idiosyncrasies.”

Berlin can be reached at

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