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GETTING A CLEW

Deborah Barlow, Vapeerine.

Deborah Barlow, Vapeerine.


MULTISENSORY SURPRISE AT PHILLIPS EXETER

Linda Chestney

“You cannot move people Until you touch them.”

— Gary O’Neil

The above quote was coined by Gary O’Neil, an icon in the advertising/marketing industry in New Hampshire for 30 years and founder of the O’Neil Griffin Bodi advertising firm, who was wildly successful because he got the bigger picture. He understood that unless you touch people’s hearts, you won’t accomplish the ultimate goal of change — no matter what your profession — on a deep, heartfelt level.

The current exhibition at the Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy, “Clew: A Rich and Rewarding Disorientation,” delves into the concept of touching issues, and ultimately people, on a deeper level. A multi-sensory installation, the show is unique as it simultaneously addresses the visual, the written word and music. So rich, you can scarcely take it in.

The show is an artistic collaboration that emulates the labyrinth with its confluences and unexpected turnabouts. Stepping into the gallery immediately becomes a surreal experience. Futuristic. Transformative. Ethereal. The stimulation is multi-faceted as the senses are bombarded with visual stimuli by Boston-based visual artist Deborah Barlow, while the ears experience poet Todd Hearon (an English instructor at Phillips Exeter) reading passages from his book, “No Other Gods,” while the dynamic duo (and married couple) of Jung Mi Lee and Jon Sakata, musicians who teach at Phillips Exeter, provide the diverse, acoustic accompaniment to it all.

Using overlays of music, poetry and the visual arts, these four artists give viewers and listeners new ways to see, hear and navigate a tripartite, intricately layered world. Within the setting of the gallery, all three formats intermingle freely. The experience compounds and expands into a journey of multi-dimensionality and surprise.

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