‘Pulled Apart’ is an engineering fascination

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original version to include a correction to Terry Berlier’s quote in paragraph 6.

Namratha Kethineni

Staff Writer

The intersection of science and the arts is an interesting point of discussion. While these fields are not often featured together, when they are, a magical exhibition is brought to life.

The newest exhibit at USF’s Thacher Gallery, “Pulled Apart,” achieves this through a display of various projects which are artistically and engineeringly unique to the creators involved. It is available to be experienced online via photos, videos, and text summaries from March 1 – April 25, and is accompanied by virtual conversations with the artists throughout the month of April. 

The interdisciplinary exhibition includes pieces from the collections of Terry Berlier, Adam Chin, Cynthia Hooper, Carrie Hott, and Gail Wight. Each piece was hand-selected and curated by Glori Simmons, the director and organizer of exhibits at the Thacher Gallery. 

Although each artist brought a piece to the cohesive exhibit, their artistic focuses are vastly different. Berlier is a sculptor who brings attention to queer and LGBTQ+ rights through her art. One of her pieces in the exhibit is titled “Waiting For The Other Shoe To…” She said in a Zoom interview, “It captures a lot of the work that I’m interested in. It tries to take a saying that is common and tries [to] probe deeper into what’s happening in society.” 

The piece is made up of a pulley and rope system which causes a set of shoes to drop together at certain time intervals. 

“I’m really interested in inequalities around BIPOC, queer, and trans folks, and as a queer person living under the Trump era, [it] definitely felt like everytime you opened the news another shoe dropped,” Berlier said. This “shoe drop” refers to a sense of impending doom or bad news. Berlier said she was able to channel this emotion into her work.  

Hooper is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on environmental issues, engineering, and infrastructure. She contributed oil and watercolor paintings displaying subjects which showed economic development and engineering. She also created a video titled “Jefferson’s Monuments,” which she described as “a meditative inventory of the four monumental dams on the Klamath River.” These dams are significant because after twenty years of activism on the part of tribal groups in Oregon, they are finally going to come down, Hooper said. 

Hooper explained how artists collaborated with the Thacher Gallery to formulate the exhibit. ”We had preliminary discussions about this [exhibit] back in November,” she said. “Glori [Simmons] paired each artist with an engineer from USF’s department.” Hooper was paired with engineering professor Julia Thompson, who wrote an essay that accompanied the exhibition catalog. 

The professors who participated in the curation of these pieces will also be involved in the upcoming virtual conversations. The exhibition is officially co-presented by USF’s engineering program

Online registration for the virtual discussions are available now.

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