November 21, 2019

Mad Art Gallery displays Webster students’ work

Performance art, metal sculpture featured at WAC sponsored show

PHOTO BY MAX BOUVATTE / The Journal A crowd cycles through a show featuring Webster students’ work at the Mad Art Gallery on Dec. 2. The gallery, titled “An Unlikely Coincidence of Haptic Hermeneutics,” showed pieces of varying mediums; from paintings and sculptures to performance art. The artwork will be on display at the Mad Art Gallery on 12th Street through Dec. 26.

A timer went off every 15 minutes at Mad Art Gallery, 2727 S. 12th Street, last Friday, Dec. 2. Audrey Simes, senior performance art major, wore a blonde wig and sat in a chair facing the white gallery wall. The artwork of 37 other Webster University students hung around her as she rocked back and forth, holding a hand mirror. Shortly after 10 p.m., Simes stepped away from her chair and removed her wig. Gallery visitors applauded.

“I suddenly realized it (the performance) was over. I wasn’t in it any more,” Simes said.

Simes was in her chair and in character since 6:30 p.m. that night. As she stepped away from her chair, musicians Bryan Toben and Lola Hennicke, Webster students and members of the band Afternoon Blue, performed 4 Non Blondes’ song “What’s Up.” Toben and Hennicke played music throughout the night as gallery visitors circulated through the room.

The Webster Arts Coalition (WAC) collaborated with the Webster University Art History Society (Webster AHS) and American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) to put the art show, titled “An Unlikely Coincidence of Haptic Hermeneutics,” together.


Video by Evan Mueller and Megan Favignano

PHOTO BY MAX BOUVATTE / The Journal Audrey Simes rocks back and forth in a chair for almost four hours as part of her performace piece featured in the WAC gallery show.

“This is a collaborative group show,” Madeline Brenner, senior art major and president of WAC, said. “There’s a bunch of different types of mediums, concepts and senses that are experienced while you’re viewing the show.”

Brenner described “Haptic Hermeneutics” as an “interpretation of visual stimuli.”

The show included a variety of art forms including photography, video, performance, drawing, painting and sculpture.

Emily Read, senior studio art major, contributed a metal sculpture of several long metal rods extending from a wire ball. She hadn’t planned on using metal until she did a demo in one of her classes.

“My main mediums are painting and ceramics,” Read said. “Those are really easy materials to manipulate. This was more of a challenge for me.”

Read is doing a BA show at the end of the year which will showcase her paintings and ceramics. For the Mad Art Gallery, she wanted to show something different.

“She took the time to go out to a forge and hammer it all out,” Justin Bailey, senior sculpture major and WAC treasurer, said. “It’s a good contrast to most of the flat work that we are showing.”

Bailey and Brenner said WAC wanted to give students the chance to show their work in a gallery outside of Webster.

“It’s a professional setting for a student show,” Bailey said. “For most of us, it’s our first opportunity to do something like that.”

Submissions were open to all Webster students; however, most of the submissions were from students in the art department. Submissions were due in September.

Mad Art Gallery is a renovated building, which used to be the Third District Police Station.

Ron Buechele, Mad Art Gallery owner, enjoys seeing student work, but doesn’t get the chance to see it often.

“They (students with art in the show) aren’t all BFAs. Some of them are BAs,” Buechele said. “I like to see the juxtaposition of it.”

The artwork will be on display at Mad Art Gallery through Dec. 26, and can be seen by appointment.

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