Art Faculty Exhibit Explores 'Tributaries'
WILMORE, Ky. — When Margaret Park Smith, an assistant art professor at Asbury University, heard the statistic that 11 people die in the United States each day from car accidents connected with text messages, it struck her as particularly senseless and tragic. Then she turned it into art.
Smith created an installation titled “The Final Text” that consists of 11 white porcelain bowls. On the bottom of each bowl is written the last text sent from a person killed in a car accident. The messages — from the mundane “lol” to a more ironic “I can’t discuss this now” — offer a commentary on the human drive to connect, Smith says.
“I was aware of the audience likely to encounter this piece on campus,” she said, “and I know that texting is important to them. They are often part of the demographic that is impacted by the accidents.”
The installation is part of Asbury University’s annual art faculty exhibit, which is open for public viewing until March 8 in the art gallery above Z.T. Johnson Cafeteria. The exhibit includes photography, paintings and mixed media pieces with a theme of “Tributaries.” Exhibiting faculty members include Keith Barker, Angie Lister, Elissa Morley, Kyle Schroeder, Laura Segre-Lewis, Chris Segre-Lewis, Margaret Park Smith, Josh Smith and Linda Stratford.
While several of the pieces in the exhibit address the “tributaries” theme by dealing with some aspect of water, Smith and a few others focused more on the “tribute” idea.
“After the exhibit, the bowls might be part of the dishes I use,” Smith said. “I don’t think it would be a bad thing, to fit them into regular life. Memorials act like that — they stand in to help us remember. But they’re usually quite grand, and on a public scale. These are much more personal.”
The art gallery is open anytime the building is in use (7 a.m. to 11 p.m., excluding school breaks).