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Sculptor finds inspiration in the macabre

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2013 22:11

Box Gallery

Brandon Caradine

The art show entitled “Neither Fish Nor Flesh” is being held in the Art and Communication building and will be closing Friday. The artist’s works are made from materials like wax, plaster, feathers, and rubber.

While there is a well-known art gallery in the Communications and Fine Arts building, some students do not know that there is a gallery tucked away in the Art and Communication building as well. Caitlin Hettich, a sculptor in the Masters of Fine Arts program, has shown her works in a show titled “Neither Fish Nor Flesh” since Nov. 1 in a small gallery next to the Subway restaurant.

“She likes to use all sorts of found materials,” said Corie Walker, a curator of the student-run Box Gallery in the Art and Communication building. “She uses dog chew toys in some of her pieces, but she manipulates them so they aren’t recognizable anymore.”
In her pieces, Hettich attempts to capture the essence of the human form, without explicitly recreating it.

After working exclusively with plaster and wax in previous similarly styled pieces, Hettich was unsatisfied with her work. She is excited to be introducing clay into her material.  
“The unpredictability of the material from beginning to end — from cracks, to varied results or from the same glaze — the end product is somewhat out of the artist’s hands, which speaks to me and to my desire to create things that have a life of their own,” Hettich said.

The pieces come from dark, twisted places.

“For these works, I have looked for inspiration to the body casts of Pompeii victims, to the bog bodies of Northern Europe, to mummies and to ceremonial bone objects,” Hettich said.

She tried to create pieces that are both life-like and impossible. She wanted to illustrate the passage of time. She made scenes of bones beneath earth.

Hettich is one of four students this semester who have been selected to present in the Box Gallery. The student-run committee is made up of four graduate students, three undergraduate students and Claudia Santillan, a graduate student. The committee chooses applicants to present at the beginning of each semester. It takes into consideration how interesting the works may be to the student body.  It is open to all students, but an art student must curate the show.

The committee also helps the selected artists with developing their work. If they’re selected, the committee works with them to create an installation catered to their artwork and the spacing of the gallery itself.

Walker, a senior studio art major and art history minor, has been involved with the committee since the fall of 2012.

“My favorite thing about being on the committee is being surrounded by students who are discovering themselves as artists, just like me,” Walker said. “We are all supportive of each other and try to help one another gain better skills to heighten our art.”
The last show of this semester will feature the works of Amelia Briggs, a graduate student on the committee and a painter.  It will be on display in the Box Gallery starting on Dec. 6.

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