A New Exhibition at Fordham, Created for Fordham


The exhibit was created by Artist-in-Residence Carleen Sheehan. (GEORGE HORIHAN/THE OBSERVER)


This month, the Visual Arts Department at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) presents a new exhibition, “Prismatic Shifts” in the Ildiko Butler Gallery. Curated by artist-in-residence Carleen Sheehan, the show brings together two internationally recognized Brooklyn artists Lee Boroson and Diana Cooper, who created their works for the exhibition inspired by the physical space itself.

“[The Ildiko Butler Gallery] reads like a stage or large diorama as you come down the escalators,” Sheehan said.  “The artists bring attention to both the street outside the gallery and to the lobby interior.”

Boroson traditionally works with material objects and transforms them into natural environments to investigate how humans domesticate nature. Cooper often works with transportation elements as well as other man-made objects to create a new perception of the world for its viewer. Sheehan hoped that by bringing these two artists together, “[Boroson] would bring nature in through the windows and [Cooper] would pull the building’s architecture” into the collaboration.

“We take in an enormous amount of visual data every day,” Sheehan said. “This exhibition was inspired by the idea that the gallery space could be a place to filter, synthesize and reinterpret our environment.”

The left-hand side of the gallery contains pieces by Lee Boroson—a domestic coffee table, a reconfigured Ikea coat rack that displays drawings and a brightly-colored tapestry of ribbons. Beneath the coffee table, titled “Clearcut,” is a built-in wasp-nest, depicting how humans domesticate nature, but then nature comes back and ultimately takes over. The reconfigured Ikea coat rack looks like tree branches balanced precariously, referencing nature negotiating a man-made form. The antique ribbons that make up the tapestry, titled “Breach,” are hand-stitched – Boroson likes to choose pieces for his work that have a history of domesticity.

The center and right-hand side of the gallery contain pieces by Diana Cooper: an installation titled “Undercover” and her first one-channel video presentation. “Undercover” is created out of many different types of materials including vinyl, photographs and styrofoam. This is an example of her most well-known style—building self-generating environments and worlds. In this piece, Sheehan said the viewer is “experiencing the experience of an urban environment.”

The FCLC escalators are the focus of Cooper’s untitled video displayed on the right-hand side of the gallery.  Like a closed-circuit television in a security office, Cooper’s video starts off recording the escalators in a series of eight cells – as the video progresses, these cells meld together and become kaleidoscopic.

What makes this exhibit even more special to Fordham is that FCLC Senior Seminar Visual Arts students were able to observe Boroson’s and Cooper’s works in the process and participate in the gallery installation and filming of the video. This experience will “give [these students] perspective and hands-on skills to take with them as they work towards their own Senior Thesis Exhibitions this spring,” Sheehan said in her Curator’s Note.

“Prismatic Shifts” will be on display at the Ildiko Butler Gallery through March 31.