‘Familiar Collections’ exhibit is a haunting reminder

Echo photo by Lydia Hansen
Rebekah Lobdell views prints by Erika Ritzel in art gallery. Lobdell also does work-study at the art gallery through RCTC Financial Aid.

By Munira Alimire

Arts and Entertainment Editor


The RCTC Art Gallery, located across from the Hill Theater, features artwork from students, faculty and visiting artists is currently hosting an exhibition called “Familiar Collections.”

It’s a haunting reminder of the lives people had before dying or moving on. A few pieces serve as a moving tribute to one of the artists’ grandmother, while others are photographs from estate sales.

Laura Andrews and Erika Ritzel, both featured artists and college professors, have known each other for a decade, despite only collaborating for the last two years. They described the theme of the show about being collecting and family, and what is done when the owner has gone but what they collected still exists.

Andrews is a painter, but has recently been experimenting with mixed media and installation to capture ideas that wouldn’t be best expressed on a canvas, while Ritzel is a photographer, and has been expressing her creativity through this medium for a while.

“Art is a constant part of our lives,” Andrews said. “We use art as a way to understand the world we live in, and the objects, places and people within it.”

Sometimes she uses her art as a way to embrace change, like in the most haunting piece of the exhibit: a rotary phone with voicemails from her grandmother who passed away recently.

Walking through the exhibit will make you feel like you are viewing the most intimate parts of a person’s life, an observer in something you don’t truly understand. It gives a sense of watching someone’s life run by in a few moments. Many people can connect with the change that happens as someone ages, so the theme is both universal and personal.

The exhibition runs from Aug. 15 to Oct. 18 and is free to the public. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. This exhibition is made possible with the support of the Rochester Community and Technical College Art + Design Department and RCTC Student Life

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