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“Integrate” is great source of inspiration

November 8, 2010

By Brittney Bennett, Staff Writer

Arriving 10 minutes early to the opening of the Campus Gate Art Gallery’s new exhibition “Integrate,” I was nervous about being vis-à-vis with the artists and their work. Though greeted initially, I was left to meander at my own pace, trying to take in each piece to grasp what each artist was trying to convey.

I started with Darius Hill’s collection of mixed media pieces, which focused on his racial identification as an African American male. There were digital pictures of young men sporting the once fashionable “afro,” along with print images of hair picks, among other painted figures and shapes. As I continued around his portion of the exhibit, I kept noticing the hair picks and how he, in the first set of paintings, had the traditional rigid lines of an ordinary hair pick; but as he added new pieces to the collection, the hair picks now had multiple colors and resembled humanistic figures.

Once the majority of the visitors had arrived, Hill gave the opening speech and told of how his inspiration evolved into the individual pieces. However, I felt he was far too ambiguous with his inept ramblings, which never truly answered the question of what his art meant to him as an artist and his reason for such creations.

I did enjoy his artwork, especially when titles such as “The Jim Crow” series force those who are viewing the work to try and empathize what the artist was feeling while creating the art. I was merely disappointed in his anticlimactic opening. I was expecting nothing less of exuberance and passion for what he was expressing; but alas, he was reserved and soft-spoken.

On the other hand, his wife, Bethanne Hill, seemed to enrapture listeners with her body language and overall passion while speaking of her half of the exhibit.

I enjoyed her portion of the exhibit just as well; especially how she incorporated modern painting technique with an Aboriginal influence in the sense of coloration and dramatic outlines of the figures. Seeing the decorative and tribal designs of the CDs made me want to play the folk music recorded on them, in order to get the full experience of what had inspired her to make such interesting works of art.

Overall the “Integrate” exhibition by Darius and Bethanne Hill is truly remarkable, especially with all of the rural and social themes scattered throughout. The impending chill of November makes this a great stop for contemplation and inspiration.

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  1. virginia hayes
    November 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Sounds like you were more interested in taking pot sots at the artist rather than critiquing his work.

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