In Search Of...

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Detail from Leah Beeferman′s 1201.2280v1,2012, Laser etched Plexiglas, Formica tabletops, and sound. Dimensions variable.

In Search Of… is a traveling exhibition organized by Dustin Dennis, Amanda Lechner, and Christopher Ulivo.

The organizers will give a free panel discussion on the exhibition on Thursday, September 6 at 7 pm in Blount Auditorium in Buckman Hall on the Rhodes College campus.

Clough-Hanson Gallery will also team up with Crosstown Arts to present a screening of classic In Search Of… episodes at Crosstown Arts (427 North Watkins) at 7 pm on Wednesday, September 19.

The Rhodes College Department of Art will also present a lecture by Harvard professor Dr. Steven C. Schlozman in connection with the exhibition at 7:00 pm on Thursday, September 20 in Blount Auditorium of Buckman Hall. Dr. Schlozman is the author of The Zombie Autopsies.

“In Search Of...” was a 1970ʼs speculative documentary TV series narrated by Leonard Nimoy famous for its expansive subject matter, semi-psychedelic visuals, and creepy lo-fi synth score. Yes, the style of the show is very appealing but there is a layer of appeal beyond its dated charm. One week’s programing may cover the lost city of Atlantis, the next show Bigfoot, followed by an alien pyramid architect debate. The possibility of super-natural or extra-terrestrial explanations to a theory was approached with  excitement and imagination instead of skepticism and doubt. It was the ʻsearchʼ that was important not the proof! This methodology resonates with visual artists for whom the truth lies not necessarily in the depiction of life as it appears but instead as it might or could be.

Is it in unbridled optimism, terrific pessimism or unquenchable curiosity that man-kind searches for the unknown, unseen and unlikely? Are the descriptions and observations of incredible creatures and situations truly in-credible? What are the actual differences between skeptics, scientists and true- believers? Is it at heart an optimistic and creative impulse that leads one to pursue a mystery where there is no rational reason to believe one exists? Ghost hunters, J.F.K. conspiracy theorists, extra-terrestrial experts, new age pyramid cultists, Bigfoot & Yeti researchers all fall within this worldview.

It is no surprise that certain artists find this subject matter and approach of these seekers inspirational. Depicting the unreal or the incredible in art has a peculiar way of searching for the essence of what it is to be human. Most aspects of narrative and nature have been covered thoroughly in the history of art leaving room only for the intrepid to hunt for the missing links. The artists in this exhibition create images and abstract scenarios that engage transformative moments, look to alternate histories or imagine other realities, creatures and lands. They are not interested in finite possibilities but instead look to the strange, fictional, and unknown to emerge with material that posits new scenarios, alternate conclusions and yet more questions.

The exhibition brings together work by Mark Shetabi, Betsy Odom, Ryan Mrozowski, Ross Sawyers, Leah Beeferman, Sean McCarthy, David Humphrey, Amanda Lechner, Mike Peter Smith, Frank Heath, Brian Zegeer, Rachel Frank, Phil Whitman, Matt Bollinger, Christopher Ulivo, Jackie Hoving, Carl Baratta, Erin Harmon, Dustin Dennis, Nathaniel Stern and Scott Kildall / Tweets in Space.