Solo exhibition by alumna, professor opens on campus Aug. 30
“The Hunter and the Hunted: Made to Measure,” a solo show by McDaniel College Art and Art History assistant professor and alumna Chloe Irla, is on exhibit Aug. 30–Sept. 28 on campus in The Rice Gallery in Peterson Hall. An opening reception is on Aug. 30 from 5:30–7:30 p.m., with an artist talk at 6 p.m.
The exhibition includes interdisciplinary, site-specific work created for the Rice Gallery, including monumental quilts made from hunting and camping textiles, lenticular prints, projected animated GIFs and a site-specific window installation. A range of technical and visual influences is included within the projects such as architecture, fashion design and units of measurement.
Quilts and sewing are media that Irla has been interested in since she showed a hand-sewn quilt composed of biohazard bags in the same gallery as a student in 2007. The versatile, utilitarian materials employed in these works are rich with purposes and possibilities outside of the realm of art. Most of these materials were manufactured for use in a domestic setting or outdoors, a juxtaposition of indoors vs. outdoors that Irla finds intriguing. Any text included in a work is referential to the gallery, such as “Lies Above,” which refers to the stained-glass ceiling in the space, a replica of the original ceiling that was moved to the Hoover Library board room in the 1990s.
“My goal with this exhibition is to present viewers with a variety of methods and materials that communicate the essentials of ‘The Hunter and The Hunted,’ while also acknowledging the history of the Rice Gallery space,” says Irla, who is also an artist in Baltimore.
The series of work is rooted in a years-long investigation of the color blaze orange called ‘Blaze Breakers.’
“I was introduced to this color while residing in rural Maine, where residents of the small town that I lived in were advised to wear blaze orange vests when spending time outdoors during the hunting seasons,” says Irla. “Through my continued research and development over the years, ‘Blaze Breakers’ has sub-divided into other series of work.”
The work in this exhibition is part of “The Hunter and the Hunted” chapter within “Blaze Breakers,” which began with an exploration of the semiotics of hunting textiles, particularly camouflage patterns. Irla finds the “somewhat moronic juxtaposition of invisibility (camouflage) and visibility (blaze orange) within hunting textiles” fascinating: the hunter must wear blaze orange to communicate their presence to other hunters, yet also wear camouflage as a cloaking device to blend in with their surrounding landscape.
“‘The hunter’ and ‘the hunted’ in these works can be interpreted metaphorically to communicate general themes such as in/visibility, dis/appearance, and honesty: camouflage is an illusion, a visible lie, so is blaze orange truthful?” says Irla.
Most of the projects included in this show were created specifically for the Rice Gallery and are grounded in both institutional history and Irla’s personal memories from her time as a student and more recently as a faculty member. The space that is now the Rice Gallery served as the College’s library from 1909–1961, and for the duration of this exhibition, serves as a library for this body of work.
Irla teaches digital art and design courses and maintains an interdisciplinary studio practice grounded in both traditional and alternative approaches to painting. In addition to her bachelor's degree from McDaniel, she has an M.F.A. degree from the Mount Royal School of Art at Maryland Institute College of Art.
The Rice Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10a.m.– 4 p.m. and Saturday from noon–5 p.m. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. For more information on Irla, visit www.chloe-irla.com. For information and to confirm gallery hours, call 410-857-2595.