Pillbox

Lively Frame exhibit deals with death

Senior art major Jessica Aguero’s exhibit A Year of Wondering features a variety of materials and bright colors in a playful exhibit that explores a dark time in her life, when she was dealing with the loss of a close friend. (credit: Alex Webster/) Senior art major Jessica Aguero’s exhibit A Year of Wondering features a variety of materials and bright colors in a playful exhibit that explores a dark time in her life, when she was dealing with the loss of a close friend. (credit: Alex Webster/) Senior art major Jessica Aguero stands next to one of her pieces at her Frame gallery opening last Friday. (credit: Alex Webster/) Senior art major Jessica Aguero stands next to one of her pieces at her Frame gallery opening last Friday. (credit: Alex Webster/)

With a spark and a bang, senior art major Jessica Aguero’s A Year of Wondering opened on Friday at The Frame, a student-run gallery space. The exhibit explores the emotions Aguero faced after the death of a friend. Rather than tip-toeing around the sensitive topics explored in the exhibit, however, Aguero’s work stomps right through, powerfully and playfully dealing with the onslaught of emotions that accompanies the death of a loved one.

“The exhibit is a response to the death of a very close friend ... you just have all of these questions and no answers. You just have to embrace that there are things that you’ll never understand,” Aguero said.

Packing a colorful punch, the exhibit surprisingly evokes a sense of liveliness rather than somberness. Balloons float across the room, party confetti is artfully clumped on the floor, and there’s enough candy to overwhelm Willy Wonka.

“We’re so excited about her use of materials, and she has a great sense of color,” said Jamie Walters, junior art major and co-director of The Frame. “It’s exciting, unusual, and elaborate. I thought it would be a good exhibition to start the year off like that and draw people in with something exciting.”

There’s an incredible amount of whimsical yet profound energy packed into the relatively small gallery space. The collection of works is so eclectic and emotional, it’s impossible not to be drawn in and captivated, first by the dazzling array of colors and then by the depth of the expression.

The bubbly vibe that the colors and childish wonders give off is tempered by subtle reminders of what the exhibition is really examining: thoughts and questions about life after death.

“She uses interesting and unusual materials and less traditional processes,” Walters said.

Highlights of the exhibition include razors that have been contorted and fused together into a spherical shape, a giant foam tear drop covered in sprinkles, a wall mural that invites viewers to contribute with a pile of Crayola markers, and a stop-motion video of a girl jumping and flipping backwards.

“The video was 40 frames made out of candy and frosting. Each frame took a half an hour, and the video is only two seconds long,” Aguero said, laughing. “It just represents a brief, happy moment.”

The most striking piece by far is a heart-wrenching journal that Aguero kept in the months following her friend’s death. The drawings and letters in the journal are deeply personal and bittersweet, truly allowing viewers to get a glimpse into the personal struggle that she went through.

The exhibit is honest and pure, and the personal touches complete the vision. For example, cupcakes were provided at Friday’s opening simply because “they were [her friend’s] favorite food,” Aguero said.

Attention to detail, personal touches, and the interesting juxtaposition of a somber theme with bold colors and pieces makes this exhibition a thought-provoking and joyful success.