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What We Know in Part on Exhibit in Williams Gallery

what we know in part feature

Nick Hutchings' exhibit, What We Know in Part, is showing in the Williams Art Gallery this fall. “The body of this work wrestles with spiritual revelation and meditates upon the things unveiled in prayer,” said Hutchings, an assistant professor of visual and performing arts at the Mount. The work begins with Hutchings' prayer journals standing in a row on pinewood. From this place of deep interior spirituality and intimacy, the work expands to his grappling with the revelations found in that intimacy, expressed in visual language.

The variety of pieces in the series includes a combination of ink on vellum and paper, wood and porcelain, and acrylic domes with mirrors and fiber optics. While each piece in the work has its own aesthetic value, the series is integrally one as it takes the viewer on a journey inward and outward. 

“Much of the work utilizes a reflective, black surface, be it ink or glass, as emblematic of the ‘numinous’—that which is present but is unknown or unknowable. The reflective black surface is a point of tension between the artwork and the viewer’s perception," Hutchings said. "There is implied, but unquantifiable, depth ‘behind’ the surface. It is at or on the surface that the known and unknowable meet—where one encounters the numinous.”

Reflecting on her experience of the exhibit, Moriah Tyler, C’19, a fine arts major said, “Walking into the gallery I anticipated something grand, but the show exceeded my expectations. I was transported into an intimate world where a man's prayer journals were interactive art pieces.  This interactive aspect of the gallery is what I enjoyed most; I was able to stare into my own spiritual universe while reflecting on the universe that had been created within the gallery.”

This interactivity was one of Hutchings' intentions. “In this exhibition I aim to place the viewer in a position of conscious engagement with the artwork. Like writing a Haiku, I remove superfluous elements within the work to speak in a more succinct and powerful voice without sacrificing the poetic,” he explained. “This distillation allows the viewer’s perception to emerge and grants a conscious space for being present in relation to the artwork.”

The exhibition contextualizes a space for an aesthetic experience, a space that reflects the ephemerality of presence at the surface of the infinite. As visitor take their time experiencing and interacting with What We Know in Part, an indelible mark is left on their memory. What We Know in Part will be on exhibit in the Williams Art Gallery through December 7, 2018.