There’s more to the exhibit than meets the eye at first glance.
From various landscapes to an eye with a rainbow coming out of it, Nathan Young’s exhibit, which uses both visuals and sounds, never ceases to both amaze and startle the viewers. Even though it is located in the Alexandre Hogue Gallery on the first floor of Phillips Hall, you may have seen his work advertised around campus on the televisions, whether it be the eye with the rainbow path or the art of Jesus with plants over his eyes. These advertisements do the artwork no justice, however, as when you see them in person, an entire new level of workmanship is uncovered.
Nathan Young’s exhibit is titled “Infinite Drone.” Drone, not meaning the aerial device, but the harmonic or monophonic effect where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout most or all of the piece of music. The exhibit is made up of about eight television screens and two projections on the wall, each cycling through the various pieces that Young has made, each accompanied with either a note or chord. The sounds combined with the images created a compelling “narrative about place and symbolism,” to quote Young.
As you walk around the exhibit, the sounds start to combine into an almost ominous tone, which draws you in rather than pushing you out. In my visit there, I was captivated by the artwork, and I sat on one of the benches provided, just watching as the projections cycled through the works. And I was not the only one captivated, as some comments in the gallery’s guestbook state that “the visuals draw you in,” “I really can’t stop staring at them” and “compelling images.”
Upon first glance, you might think that the images are just that, an image, not moving. But as you look longer, you begin to see the movement. Instead of just a skull overlayed on a rainbow, you see that the rainbow is slowly changing colors, and that there is a flower-like symbol on the skull’s forehead, slowly turning. The eye with the rainbow is slowly shifting up and down. The entire image with Jesus in it is slightly vibrating. And with these changing videos, the music changes too. While the various sounds that make the music you hear are paired with a specific video, the sounds phase in and out with each other, creating a “continually changing drone composition,” according to Young.
In his statement talking about his exhibit, Young had this to say about his piece: “These drone videos are primarily informed by the ancient religious imagery used by my ancestors, contemporary American-Indian religious practices as well as an outlaw spirit which was prevalent growing up in what was once Indian Territory or ‘Outlaw Territory’ and is now Oklahoma.” He added, “These landscapes, slowly changing rainbow colors and slowly moving images are all reflections on an indigenous experience in a contemporary art vernacular.”
The exhibit will only be up until the September 20, so get over to Phillips Hall to see this wonderful and mesmerizing array of artwork.