Community art project takes shape at gallery
By Kiki Koroshetz
March 11, 2010 5:14 PM
At Wednesday's opening reception of Shapes for Hamilton, the collaborative project led by visiting artist Allan McCollum, students stood on scaffolds in Clifford Gallery, filling empty plastic slips on the walls with white pieces of paper on which black images were printed.
McCollum quietly walked around the room and took photographs of town of Hamilton residents and Colgate students, faculty, and staff who were examining the thousands of shapes lining the walls, hunting for their distinctive shapes.
Members of the Hamilton and Colgate communities could see their shapes for the first time on a computer in the gallery, record the section of the gallery in which it was located, and then go find it.
"That's my shape!" 7-year-old Walter Clauss said as his father, Karl, lifted him up to get a closer look.
It was not just the children who were excited about the shapes, which are each personally signed by McCollum.
"Oh, that's my shape," said associate professor of art and art history Lynette Stephenson, looking up at another black image on the same wall. "I'm gorgeous," she laughed. "Look at me."
Although difficult to locate at first, once you found your shape it became rather easy to distinguish it from every shape around it.
"You'd think the shapes would be anonymous," said Monika Burczyk, university studies lecturer. "But you really can recognize them."
Lisa Oristian, of Hubbardsville, said she found the exhibition fascinating because it allows everyone to take part.
"Every person has his or her own shape and everyone can come see the shapes and be a part of the project," she said.
The shapes will be distributed to every member of the community who wishes to participate on April 3, 4, 10, and 11 at various locations including Hamilton Central School, the Palace Theater, and the Poolville Community Center. Times and additional locations will be announced soon.
What will people do with their shapes?
"I'm going to hang mine in my school locker," said Walter Clauss.
In the meantime, though, Walter and everyone else in the community can admire the shapes at Clifford Gallery through March 31.
March 12, 2010: A new video of the reception event: Radio Free Hamilton