An exhibition of prints by VPA professor Sam Van Aken is currently on view in the Ortwine Gallery on the sixth floor of Bird Library. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Regular exhibition hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Sam Van Aken’s project entitled New Edens utilizes the process of grafting to literally and metaphorically alter plant life to create new hybridized forms of both art and nature. Included in this body of work is Grafted Seed Packets, where seed and flower packets have been cut, spliced, and altered to amalgamate species. The implications of Van Aken’s New Edens project include issues of genetic engineering, biodiversity versus food monoculture, and, ultimately, the symbiosis of humankind’s relation to nature.
Sharon Corwin has written in Currents 2 (Colby College Museum of Art):
There is a blatant sexuality to the hybrids, especially evident in the combination of an apple and a strawberry. And yet while Van Aken’s mutant fruit might elicit laughter, it is also quite horrifying in the context of our genetically modified world.
Combining sophisticated technology with traditional modes of art-making, Sam Van Aken’s projects cross boundaries between artistic genres, including performance, installation, video, photography, and sculpture. With each body of work, he selects practices and new perspectives that provide a kinesthetic perception of objects and a visceral charge.