Campus News

‘Classifieds’ injected with dark humor

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An older gentleman walked into Kevin Wadzinski’s art exhibit, and turned to a younger man who was on his way out. He said he’d been through the exhibit twice, and he still “didn’t get it.” The disconnect between artists’ work and enthusiasts is not entirely uncommon. That fact isn’t lost on Wadzinski, however. In fact, he partially named the exhibit based on that very idea. The South Bend artist debuted these pieces in the Weaver Art Gallery in the Everest Rohrer building at Bethel College, and called the exhibit “Classifieds.” “Classified” is a word that can mean both the section of the newspaper that deals with the needs of people in the community, or secret knowledge, unknown to all but a privileged few, according to Wadzinski’s handout at the exhibit. Wadzinski said that the latter had partly to do with the insider ideas of those within the contemporary art community. He remarked that it dealt with “secret knowledge type things come into contemporary art.” He said this can be both a good and a bad thing. “People feel like they are being mocked,” Wadzinski said. “People see it as an elite thing, but I think it shouldn’t be about us versus them.” His work, which featured an assortment of media ranging from drawing to almost stencil like paintings made up multi-layered collages. “I don’t really like one idea,” Wadzinski said. “It’s a lot easier to get bogged down just using one technique.” One of the earliest works from his exhibit was started in 2001, back when Wadzinski was still in art school. He kept adding layers and finding unexpected “connections” until he came up with a more complete piece, which now hangs in the Weaver Art Gallery. Wadzinski stated that his work was an expression of the “feeling of loss of self and finding your identity.” He added that there’s a little more “spiritual yearning” in this artwork than most of his other pieces. He was inspired in part by underground comics he’s read. “I like trying to inject a little about dark humor,” Wadzinski said in reference to a painting of a headless body falling out of a larger headless body, something he calls a visual metaphor. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be taken too seriously,” he said. “There can be a joke and that’s okay in a gallery.”    
Visitors gaze at artwork by Kevin Wadzinski at the exhibit's opening on Friday.
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