Thursday, March 7, 2013

Exhibition opening at Sarratt Student Center on March 16, 2013, where it will be on view to June 15, 2013 (followed by VU's Stevenson Library to September 15, 2013)

Lori Anne Parker-Danley. Palimpsest (detail), 2013. A response to 
"The Heterogeneity of My Two Grandfathers," by William Luis.

NASHVILLE, TENN.—(March 6, 2013)— The Vanderbilt Sarratt Student Center’s newly renovated Connector Space features the work of Nashville artist and Vanderbilt Curb Creative Campus grant recipient Lori Anne Parker-Danley in an exhibition entitled The Identity Sculptures Project from March 16 to June 15, 2013. The Identity Sculptures Project, a multimedia installation composed of 11 sculptures and sculptural assemblages created in response to 11 writers from the Vanderbilt University community, is a 2012–13 Curb Creative Campus Initiative. In this unique exhibition, Parker-Danley also uses QR code technology to transform the typical art-viewing experience into one that includes an audio and web-based component and effectively disrupts the boundaries between visual art, writing, and spoken word. A public reception in honor of the artist and writers will be held at the Sarratt Center on Thursday, April 11, 5:00–7:00 p.m. After closing at the Sarratt Center in June, the exhibition will “travel” across campus to the Stevenson Science and Engineering Library, where it will then be on view through September 15.

Led by Parker-Danley (who is also an editor in the Patient Education Department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center), The Identity Sculptures Project is a collaborative public art and grant project that was born out of Parker-Danley’s interest in the relationship between writing and art and the ways language and storytelling shape (and are shaped by) our bodies and identities. During the initial stage of the project, Parker-Danley solicited writing from Vanderbilt faculty, students, and staff on the topic of “creative identities.” She then created sculptures and sculptural assemblages in response to and engagement with the writings and the writers. One of the goals of the project is to create occasions for unexpected and spontaneous encounters and conversations (with art, writing, and amongst community members) on the Vanderbilt campus. This goal aligns with the Curb Creative Campus’s support of projects that break through the daily experiences to heighten engagement, stimulate curiosity, and provoke dialogue. To that end, the works will be on display in high-traffic, very public areas on campus. In a unique twist that takes advantage of contemporary technology, the sculptures are themselves interactive: Each sculpture will have a QR code paired with it. The QR codes connect to the web-based exhibition pages, which include images, audio files, and written texts. Viewers will be invited to scan the QR codes and “listen” to the artworks—in the form of the voices of the writers reading their own words.

“In addition to being visual works of art, each work is in conversation with its associated text on various levels,” says Parker-Danley. “Every piece in the exhibition includes actual bits of text that are incorporated into its structure, as well as links to the audio files of the writers reading their words. By doing this, I am hoping to not only get people to think about the various ways our identities, creativity, and the creation of identities are shaped by and use language, but also the way art and our experience of looking at art is steeped in text and the ways one artwork might respond to and overlap with another. I also want people to have the experience of ‘listening’ to a visual work of art—not in the sense simply listening to words that ‘go along’ with that particular artwork, but words that respond and engage with them in a closer, more intimate way. Similarly, the artworks themselves are not meant as simple “illustrations” of the texts, but also an authentically engaged conversations and reactions to the texts.”

In addition to responding to the writers and writings, the 11 pieces in the exhibition have been created and arranged with the physical space of the Sarratt Connector in mind. In the same way that identities shift and change, the pieces will be in front of large windows make the outside environment and its daily and seasonal shifts part of the installation. “Although the pieces are naturally very different from each other, as they are each responses to particular writings and different makers, I have set them up in various ways so that they converse with the outdoors—through structures that mimic the shapes of branches and leaves to pieces that invite and play with the natural light,” says Parker-Danley. “Architecturally, this space by design calls attention to the outdoors; as an artist, I had to take advantage of that.”

This is the first time art has been shown in the Sarratt Connector hallway. "We are over the moon to partner with the Curb Center Creative Campus initiative and specifically to have Lori Anne's unique sculpture exhibit debut in the newly-renovated Sarratt Connector,” says Celeste Sagi, director of the Office of Arts & Creative Engagement at Vanderbilt University. “This space, with its natural light, lends itself well to showcasing artwork. Lori Anne's intricate 3D dialogues are an ideal kickoff installation. Her sculptures are engaging and will promote conversation as well as enliven our experience as we travel through the Sarratt Connector hallway. This exhibit will remind us to take a moment from our busy lives to appreciate the power of creativity. If our goal is to foster a culturally rich environment that provides participants with opportunities to understand and appreciate the value of art in their lives, this is a fantastic step toward that goal."

As one of the 2012–2013 Creative Campus Innovation Grants, the Identity Sculptures Project will contribute to larger campus conversations about human and creative identities in a way that directly supports the grant program’s goals. “The Curb Creative Campus Innovation Grant Program provides Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to produce original ideas and harness their creativity as forces for positive social change,” says Elizabeth Long-Lingo, director of Curb Creative Campus. “Lori Anne’s Identity Sculptures Project was an ideal one to support—she has developed a series of compelling, beautiful, and provocative interpretive sculptures that illuminate the participating writers’ extraordinary and everyday creative lives and combine mixed media, written, and spoken word.”  

The 11 writers in the project, who are faculty, staff, and students from the university and medical campuses are: Tessa Chillemi, senior, College of Arts and Science; Lisa Dordal, MFA, faculty, English Department; BeLinda Hall, perioperative service surgery scheduler, Administration Operating Room Services; Rick Hilles, MFA, assistant professor, English Department; Caitlyn Danielle Le, sophomore, College of Arts and Science; William Luis, Ph.D., Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish, Department of Spanish and Portuguese; Lori Anne Parker-Danley, Ph.D., editor, Patient Education; Nancy Reisman, MFA, associate professor, English Department; Wanda Rogers, insurance coordinator, Vanderbilt Risk and Insurance Management; Ames Sanders, junior, College of Arts and Science; and Janice Savage, administrative assistant, Department of Patient & Family Engagement.

At the end of the project, Parker-Danley will give the sculptures to the participating writers in gratitude for their participation.
Learn more:
Curb Creative Campus:
Lori Anne Parker-Danley:

The Sarratt Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week during academic sessions. The exhibition is open when the building is open. The Identity Sculptures Project will be on view at Vanderbilt University in the Sarratt Center’s Connector Hallway March 16–June 15, 2013, and then June 16­–September 15, 2013, in the Stevenson Science and Engineering Library.