Paintings, photographs and sculptures: These are the things that one would expect to see when attending an art gallery. However, when walking into the Hartnett Gallery for Kim Waale’s opening, ‘I Need a Lullaby,’ on Thursday, Jan. 26, there was nothing of the sort. What was being displayed was much more astounding.
From the moment you walk into the gallery you are thrown into a mystical and enthralling world where you are surrounded by intricately crafted webs that span across the entire showroom. These minimalist, hand-crafted spider webs fill the gallery to the brim and are so fine that you are exposed to their immense presence only after you take a few moments to walk through the room.
Kim Waale, professor of art at Cazenovia College, created this magnificent, site-specific installation exclusively for Hartnett using crocheting, knitting and webbing techniques to masterfully create these designs that she herself considers “three-dimensional drawings.”
When glancing at the pieces either through the entrance to the gallery or from the windows on the second floor of Wilson Commons, you are not able to appreciate the intricacy and detail of this powerful artwork. Once you immerse yourself in the quiet and serene environment, you are able to fully appreciate the power that this work exudes. When looking around, one is able to see the subtle details of the crocheted, doily-like coverings on the rocks that help support the massive webs, as well as the fine beading that covers them, which has the appearance of delicately placed water droplets.
From outside the gallery, there is one very interesting piece that beckons you to enter. Above the Commons, on the balcony of the Hartnett Gallery, a massive web stretches itself from the door to the end of the overlook, in an enticing yet daunting way.
The show itself went off without a hitch. Numerous students and faculty members stopped by to see these intricately hand-crafted pieces, as well as speak with Waale herself. However, after looking around the gallery, one of the more interesting aspects of the show was watching the visitors interact with the exhibit; crouching down to examine the crocheted patterns that enveloped the rocks, squinting to see each bead that was meticulously threaded onto the webs and moving through the exhibit like a performance artist.
Waale’s opening was a sight to see and will be shown in the Hartnett Gallery until Feb. 26. This is a one-and-only exhibit for Hartnett, as well as an elegant and commanding experience that no one should miss out on.
Alex is a member of the class of 2014.