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Twirl, dance and shine: UNR art exhibit explores the trials of female adolescence
by Krystal Bick
Feb 18, 2009 | 1208 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A new art exhibit at the University of Nevada, Reno explores and celebrates female adolescence.
A new art exhibit at the University of Nevada, Reno explores and celebrates female adolescence.
slideshow
Pigtails, playtime and performance.

For many women, adolescence was a time that arguably troubled, haunted and shaped their lives, often simultaneously. For artists Victoria Calabro and Allison Lacher, it’s also a time to celebrate.

As part of that celebration, Calabro and Lacher are bringing their collaborative sculpture and object-driven art exhibit to the area at the Sheppard Fine Arts Gallery at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The aim: a look into the frivolity and playful nature of female adolescence, aptly titled “Perform, Perform, Perform.”

“There’s a bit about adolescence that involves performing,” Calabro said. “You’re not sure of really where you are in the world or if you fit in. It’s an experimentation process for most women.”

“(Adolescence) is full of mistakes and funny things,” Lacher said. “I look at it as a funny time, as brutal as it was.”

And together, both women have combined their reflective takes on adolescence, in one show that promises ribbons, glitter and baton twirler performers to name a few.

Calabro, who calls New York City home, and Lacher, who resides in Springfield, Ill., originally met and became fast friends while studying art together at Indiana University. Since then, the pair has launched separate art projects, with this upcoming exhibit marking their first official joint project together.

The actual exhibit is set to open Feb. 26 but both Lacher and Calabro encourage all those interested to come and watch the installation process, starting Monday, to ask questions or just to learn how an exhibit comes into being.

The women said their exhibit should be intricately unique to install, considering they both planned and designed the exhibit according to the dimensions of Sheppard Gallery, in an effort to make for a more cohesive environment.

“It’s going to be an all inclusive experience,” Calabro said. “The viewer should feel comfortable to explore the space.”

Elements being installed also promise a more unique spin on an art exhibit, as Calabro mentioned the placement of 400 batons, the painting of all gallery walls to bright purple and ribbon to cover the floor that viewers are expected to walk on, in addition to fully suited baton twirlers on hand.

“I don’t see the exhibit as one piece,” Lacher said. “A lot of the elements are a component of one visual experience that the viewer can literally come into and immerse themselves (in).”

Working to bring such elements together, Lacher and Calabro said the exhibit should echo their different approaches and skill sets as artists.

Calabro, who calls herself more “idea driven,” said the materials don’t really matter in her everyday work, instead mentioning some of her main influences as politics and an abstract notion of the wild west.

Lacher, on the other hand, said she is “attracted to craft projects” and namely craft-oriented materials like glitter, paper and different kinds of fabric.

“I let the materials guide me,” Lacher said of her work. “And working with Victoria has many advantages. The singular advantage that I can really celebrate is that we both have a different skill set. She fills in my gaps and I fill in her gaps.”

Together, both women share a common thread that plays a quirky role in their “Perform” exhibit — while growing up, the two were on female-dominated spirit teams of sorts, Calabro having been a cheerleader and Lacher having been on the baton twirling squad.

And while both agree that the social commentary is not the primary focus, they hope audiences can find a commonality within the work that makes it approachable.

“My work comes from a personal place,” Lacher said. “And that often translates to a larger audience.”

“Perform, Perform, Perform” opens Feb. 26, with an opening lecture from both artists starting at 5:30 p.m. that evening. The exhibit will be on display until March 20 and admission is free.
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