Northwestern recently opened a new exhibit featuring the art of regional artist Shannon Sargent. He’s been featured at the Te Paske Gallery twice before, but this installment brings a whole new meaning to immersive art.
Entitled “Striped Sounds,” the exhibit employs the entire gallery as its canvas, with repurposed found materials conveying visual “sound.”
The show is an interactive installation compiled of mixed media containing manipulated materials such as paintings, sculptures and found objects.
The exhibit nods to artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, renowned American artist who contributed to the pop art movement through utilizing innovative materials, as well as Marcel Duchamp, associated with Cubism, Dadaism and conceptual art. Sargent combines the unique art styles of pop art, Cubism and conceptual art and incorporates those techniques and stylistic choices into an immersive installation piece.
Professor Stokes, associate professor of art, describes the exhibit, saying, “Rather than being an exhibition of related paintings or sculptures, the entire gallery is the actual artwork, and Sargent does not know how it will look until he sets it up. Each component ties together conceptually and aesthetically to create one large artwork.”
Sargent’s position as the Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator makes him uniquely suited to create this immersive type of installation art.
Professor Stokes explained that this experience “gives Sargent a great understanding of gallery spaces and ability to treat the gallery walls as canvases.”
This installation type of work takes an extra dose of labor and time to ensure the installation draws viewers in and immerses them with the subject matter, “Striped Sounds.”
Sargent truly poured himself into this labor of love, making several trips to the gallery in order to set up the pieces. As a matter of fact, it took him six trips from his home in Sioux City to Orange City in order to deliver and install the exhibit over NW’s winter break. With exhibits like these, timing is crucial since the turnover is a long process. Opening this exhibit in January made it easy for Sargent to have the time he needed and the gallery to continue to turnover efficiently.
In addition to his work on behalf of the Sioux City Art Center, Sargent is an adjunct art professor at his alma mater, Morningside College. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in art, he went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of South Dakota.
Currently, Sargent produces and shows his art in the region across six states. He is also a frequent juror for the Sioux City Art Center and the University of Texas Permian Basin.
Students should take this opportunity to experience an immersive art exhibit by simply stepping into the Te Paske Gallery and enjoying Sargent’s exhibit, “Striped Sounds,” which will be on display through Feb. 15. NW’s Te Paske Gallery, located in the Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center, is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday as well as 1 to 7 p.m. on Sunday.