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“Phantom Pains” exhibition experiments with the body and mind

Kelcy Conroy

Assistant A&E Editor

The spring semester is in full spring and the RIC Visual Arts department is ready for another busy and extraordinary semester. Their current major exhibition at the Chazan Family Gallery in Alex and Ani Hall is “Phantom Pains,” an exhibition featuring the works of Elena Carranza, Crickett Fisher, Sam Lowder, Elvis Rodriguez and Alexander Tum, all RIC-based artists.

This exhibition “reflects a microcosm of a wider phenomenon: depicting the body as a site of conflict, decay, power struggles and traumas of the modern world,” as said on the pamphlets at the gallery. Flesh is considered in the artwork as an object of the hardships of human experiences rather than something that supports us. Each artist reflects on this theme in their own work. 

Image of Alex and Ani Hall from

Elena Carranza is the artist of “Deposition,” “On the Operating Table (On Display for You),” “Reject,” “Untitled,” “Bleak” and “Munch!” Crickett Fisher is the artist of “Girl Rearranged Diptych,” “Effigies II,” “Body Iteration (green),” and “Body Iteration (red).” Alexander Tum is the artist of “…Something with Blood,” “…With Teeth” and “…With Veins.” Elvis Rodriguez is the artist of “Censer” and "Reliquary” and Sam Lowder is the artist of three vases titled “Flesh Vase.”

Mixed media pieces and drawings made by Carranza and Fisher respectively reflect the ideas of “inevitable rot and decay of our physical bodies and the uniquely human burden of foreseeing our own cessation” (Carranza) and exploring the “beautiful, absurd, erotic and disturbing possibilities that emerge when bodies are fragmented.” (Fisher) Ceramic pieces made by Lowder are focused on “uniting [my] two bodies of ceramic work by combining wheel thrown vases with hand-built elements that are reminiscent of flesh or organs.” (Lowder) Rodriguez’s sculptures “invite the exploration of diverse elements within [my] masculinity, femininity and spirituality.” (Rodriguez) Finally, Tum’s large hanging metal sculptures “can be read as part memorialization, part bastardization of Cambodian suffering.”

An opening reception for “Phantom Pains” took place on Feb. 1 at the Chazan Family Gallery, where the exhibition will be located until Mar. 5. Light refreshments were served and many people including, art classes, stopped by to look at the artwork and congregate with others. Overall, this exhibition was a refreshing experience making you think about your body and mind. I invite you to send these hardworking students some love and visit the exhibition in Alex and Ani Hall.


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