on exhibit at Hanover College
to speak at February events
HANOVER, Ind. (February 2012) Living in Kentucky
or Indiana, it can be easy to take the Ohio River for granted. Barges
chug up and down it, people cross it everyday for work and bridges are
built over it. But for two artists, the river is getting a new look.
Shawn Skabelund of northern Arizona and Tiffany Carbonneau from Bellarmine
University in Louisville, Ky., collaborated on a project that would
highlight both historic and contemporary migrations on the Ohio River.
artist Tiffany Carbonneau uses video and projection in her work.
The project, which took about a week to complete, opened
Jan. 9 at Hanover Colleges Greiner Art Gallery and closes Feb.
2. Skabelund and Carbonneau brought together video, corn, wood and words
to create a piece of art that reflected, in more ways than one, what
the Ohio is about.
The idea for this art exhibit came about when Associate Professor of
Art and Gallery Director Leticia Bajuyo met with Carbonneau more than
a year ago. As Carbonneau talked about her artwork, Bajuyo knew she
wanted her to come to Hanover to do a collaborative work with another
Carbonneau immediately thought of Skabelund and asked him if he would
be willing to collaborate on a show together. Skabelund accepted, and
they began preparation for a new exhibit.
They went back and forth on what would be the best approach,
said Bajuyo. There are four tons of corn and projected images
of the Ohio River.
The artists were used to working together. Skabelund had been Carbonneaus
undergraduate mentor. She was also a former student of his at Northern
Arizona University and took an independent study with him in preparation
for her Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibit. Now an assistant professor of
art at Bellarmine University, she has taken on her own unique art style.
Carbonneaus work is distinctly known for her use of video and
projection. She has exhibited her work in places such as The Urban Institute
of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Skabelund, who has his Masters of Fine Arts in drawing and painting,
has several exhibitions in Indiana but had not show at Hanover College
I actually had never even heard of Hanover College until this
invitation, said Skabelund.
Both artists had a wide range of experience when it came to exhibits.
They have also been recognized in various ways for their work.
Sakbelund was awarded the 1999 William & Dorothy Yeck Award, a 2003
Artist Project Grant from the Arizona Commiss ion on the Arts, and a
2004 Contemporary Forum Grant, to name a few.
Carbonneau, who received her MFA from Ohio University, has been awarded
various artist honorariums for her work and was recently presented with
a $20,000 stipend from the Efroymson Contemporary Art Fellowship.
With the Ohio River as their central focus, the artists knew they would
need to be able to blend video with natural elements to convey a sense
of movement. Carbonneau went to work shooting video from a boat on the
Skabelund toured the local barge company and decided to construct a
barge in the middle of the gallery. It would consist of
four tons of corn and wood.
The final project placed the barge of corn in a room surrounded by painted
blue-green walls along with video of the Ohio. One wall showed a video
with a forward motion down the Ohio, while the back wall was the boats
But the exhibition was more than just a tranquil scene. It was a tie-in
of industry and the Ohio River along with the influx of Hispanic migration
into the United States. It was a way to initiate dialogues about the
effects of NAFTA on farmers in Mexico and the Underground Railroad.
We looked at the history of the Ohio River as a border,
said Skabelund, a line that fugitive slaves needed to ford in
order to get to the Underground Railroad and to freedom in the north
The artists used Uncle Toms Cabin in their research and made sure
viewers knew the significance of the transportation of products to other
parts of the nation. An example is when NAFTA became a federal policy
and started using the Ohio River to barge large amounts of corn to Mexico.
When Skabelund gave his lecture, he focused on Mexican farmers in conjunction
with the policy. For him, the exhibit showcased the Ohio River as a
border symbol for fugitive slaves crossing over to freedom.
It was also a comparison to the border of the current economical
We live in a global society economy, said Skabelund. Our
actions, our federal policies affect everyone, and the Ohio River ties
into the 6,000-plus deaths in Arizona since 1994.
The exhibit, aptly named The River Floweth On, is as the artists stated:
Not so much about a river but about the continuation of
migration. It is a deeper look into not only the past but the present
Though the exhibit is not permanent, the artists hope to leave a lasting
impression on those who view it, because soon the videos will be turned
off, the wood will be taken down and the corn will go back on a barge,
down the Ohio River.
For more information about the exhibit,
call Leticia Bajuyo at Hanover College at (812) 866-7338.
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