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Department of Art

Collective Memory, Layered Histories: Audio and Visual Art in the Weight Room

Gabriella Warnick's Art Capstone Inspired By Her Rome Internship

The Organ At The Center Of "Hosts"
Photo by Emma Olson

Walk into the BYU Department of Art’s Weight Room this month and you’ll be met by an old, wooden, standalone organ. The organ is without pipes; it is wired through the ceiling to pieces of artwork around the room. When the guests touch the keys of the organ — which a sign reading “please press the keys” invites them to do — various sounds play from the different pieces of art. In Gabriella Warnick’s art capstone, “Hosts,” viewers are surrounded by both visual and audio art.

Warnick was inspired by her time interning in Rome a few summers ago. The internship allowed her to think about human connections, histories and how humans have sought divine interaction or metaphysical ideas throughout time. She was particularly drawn to the various palimpsests and the way that they were “objects that held ideas from various artists with various purposes that met incidentally through the physical processes of time.” After she completed her internship and returned to BYU, she continued to think about these ideas and how they related to different contexts.

As Guests Enter They Are Met By A Plaque Introducing The Exhibition And A Guest Book Where Views Can Write Their Thoughts
Photo by Emma Olson

Warnick's work explores memory and layered histories and she hopes that viewers will be able to interact and interpret her display in a personal way. “This work is exploring ideas of ritual, relic, time and gesture,” she said. “I hope that people think about how we interact with some of the spiritual, divine or metaphysical components in our lives.”

She hopes her art speaks to people from many different religious and theological backgrounds. She said, “It isn’t meant to be about a single theology. The ways we gesture towards these concepts have a tendency to be carried through time so [my art is] also a way of thinking about how we engage with each other, past and future, in very small ways.”

The exhibition is interactive, with aspects like the organ that require viewer interaction to come to life. Warnick is aware of the important role viewers have in giving art meaning and she hopes that those who come to her exhibition “feel secure about their own impressions and interpretations regarding the work.”

Warnick said that her time in the Department of Art has prepared her for her senior capstone exhibition and for her career post-graduation. “The department has given me a community of thinkers and makers who helped me navigate all the less glamorous parts of being an artist. I think they (students, professors, faculty, visiting artists, etc.) have helped me be open-minded and critical about my own practice. They’ve been supportive and encouraging guides.”

“Hosts” is on display in the Weight Room from Oct. 31 to Nov. 13.

View Of The Entire Exhibition Upon Entering The Weight Room
Photo by Emma Olson