What is it that comes between you and the natural world?
Everything, according to “Between You and Me,” the latest exhibition at the Reece Museum by Vanessa Mayoraz.
The exhibit puts questions such as this into perspective, taking a playful toll on the not-so-playful conflict between nature and human existence. The exhibition opens Monday, Feb. 22.
Mayoraz, a professor in the ETSU Department of Art and Design, explores the boundaries between the personal, the subjective, the common and the shared through a series of multifaceted works.
Her signature creations often take the form of temporary installations, distributable pieces and public interventions that reflect current events.
For “Between You and Me,” the exploitation focuses on contradictions found within efforts to refashion and reshape nature for humans’ own benefit, explains Spenser Brenner, curator at the Reece Museum.
“We [humanity] want to create so many things and want it all to be harmonious with the world, just as nature is,” Brenner said. “But in doing so, we always put ourselves in the way, losing that natural balance.”
The gallery is composed of strategically but seemingly sporadically placed man-made materials such as styrofoam and plexiglas and various types of plants.
Some man-made elements are of perfect architectural shape and others are organic, such as the mylar, a reflective sheet often used in greenhouses to direct sunlight back onto the plants, hung vertically on the walls.
Mayoraz plays with these elements of simple design, having them interact both physically and visually with the elements of plants and organic objects used in the gallery.
She also uses unnatural colored lighting which reflects off the fluorescent plexiglas and mylar, turning the entire gallery into a futuristic, mechanical environment.
“It breaks up the harmony but still works so well in the space,” Brenner said. “In essence, there is no way of creating anything — even art, in a sense — without someway taking away from nature or taking it out of its place.”
Due to a minor illness of the artist, the opening reception for “Between You and Me” was rescheduled from Thursday, Feb. 18 to Thursday, Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Just as all receptions at the Reece Museum, this event is free and open to the public. For more information call 423-439-4392 or visit the Reece Museum website at www.etsu.edu/reece.