Rotunda displays Malia Reeves’ art
By Carla Yoon
Published on Monday, September 17, 2012
In a display that demonstrates a contrast between both a bright color palette and a concentration of dark hues, the new Barrows Rotunda exhibition is now home to two abstract paintings by Malia Reeves ’12. Reeves, a studio art major from New Mexico, is one of four recent College graduates selected to be interns in the studio art department. Her works will be on display at the Hopkins Center until Oct. 7.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Reeves said. “Getting your painting in an exhibition is how you get your work out there.”
For Reeves, painting is not so much about the narrative but about the ideas they explore. The two paintings currently on display are part of Reeves’ exploration of an idea she has termed “phrensy,” quoting from Lord Byron’s poem “The Dream.”
“It’s an archaic word that was used in a lot of poetry and verse,” she said. “It harkens to the word frenzy as we know it. It harkens to the idea of dreams and alternate reality. A lot of poets used it to reference dreams.”
The theme “phrensy” encompasses her works, which is supposed to demonstrate an array events through color, according to Reeve. It is also highlighted by her technique of using a palette knife.
“I don’t use a paintbrush so much,” she said. “It creates chaotic art marking.”
The two paintings on display in the rotunda are inspired by Reeves’ reflections seen through a lens of “phrensied energy,” she said. The painting seen from the outside of the Hopkins Center, titled “What I’ve Seen,” examines the idea of reflections, transparency and water, she said.
“It explores the idea of a mirror being a reflection of the world and perception being skewed in the way of dreams,” she said.
The other painting, titled “Unseen Victim,” is a direct reference to sexual assault. The painting, which took her three months to complete, was painted mainly during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which unconsciously influenced what came out, she said.
“A lot of people have told me it’s kind of creepy or disturbing,” Reeves said. “I say ‘good’ because that’s the feel I was going with it.”
Because of its location, Reeves’ works will attract the foot traffic of students, faculty and visitors going into and out of the Hopkins Center, she said.
“We make it to be seen,” she said. “It’s very exciting to get it out publicly, to get something out there that we love.”
Studio art interns are given small stipends for a year and studio space to create their own work. Interns are also expected to monitor student workshops and assist with classes, Reeves said.
Reeves said she sees the experience as a chance to move toward her dream of becoming a teacher after studying for a masters of fine arts.
“All the faculty in the studio art department are also artists, traveling and exhibiting,” she said. “It’s good to get a taste of what that is like.”
Named after Stanley Barrows and Frances Barrows, whose grandsons graduated from Dartmouth in 1953 and 1957, the rotunda has been the most visible and familiar exhibition space for artists to showcase their work since the Hopkins Center opened in 1962.
While it is a highly visible location, the space is not the most conducive to displaying artwork, Reeves, who prefers people to be able to view a painting both up close and far away, said.
“Seeing up close you can see how incredibly complex the painting is,” she said. “Seeing it from far away makes it simpler to appreciate.”
Reeves also has a painting on display in 3 Guys Basement Barbeque that was commissioned for the opening of the restaurant. Some of her work is also on display in a gallery space in the newly opened Black Family Visual Arts Center.