The world is comprised of objects. These discrete items acquire meaning through relationships and context, yet are defined by their own autonomy. To give order to the things that surround us, we create categories, which, in turn, rely upon cultural connotations that impart meaning, value, and significance. The common language of things can convey a multiplicity of ideas such as concerns, class, or interests. The audience interprets the subjects by and through the objects that surround them.
Works of art present a special category as they occupy several object worlds simultaneously. Artworks epitomize Graham Harman’s definition of a “real object” as one that has not an outer effect, but an inner one. The tactility of the object is, of course, present, but the value lies not purely in its physical qualities, but in what it evokes.
This exhibition was curated by Katie Hornstein, assistant professor of Art History, and Jane Carroll, senior lecturer of Art History, in conjunction with their class Introduction to Art History II. Students used these works of art for a writing assignment. This exhibition has been made possible by the Harrington Gallery Fund.