Immediately upon entering, four sentences confronted visitors:
Scan and wander.
Where do you see it?
Can you find the angle?
Share your view.
These directions and questions define Ligia Sato and Miseal Hernandez’s artwork. Showcased from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4 in the Center for the Arts (CFA) Project Space, “Clashing Fragments” reinvented how audiences and artists approach interpretation.
The two artists curated their photography exhibits independently. Sato, a first year MFA student, explored urban life and its challenges with geometric abstracts while Hernandeza, first-year MFA student, reflected on natural landscapes and experimented with their relationship to language.
Despite separate processes, the artists found connections between both displays.
“There’s the urban and city-esque style [contrasting] the direction I’m going in,” Hernandez said. “The title of the exhibit is called, ‘Clashing Fragments,’ with the fragments being the spaces that we go to, where we walk, and the clash being that is all under one exhibit.”
On Hernandez’s side, bright, colorful words covered black and white forest photographs. The words were direct, simply describing the pictures. One said, “Fall leaves engulf the forest floor. A stone slab creates an overhang.”
The vagueness was purposeful, emphasizing the shifts of interpretations depending on the space one was in.
“The words will never describe the place properly unless you see it with your eyes, which is why the words cover up the image,” Hernandez said. “Language is important when we consider it as navigation. When you’re out in these spaces, you’re using landmarks, you’re using the beaten path that’s below your feet.”
Sato incorporated vagueness to emphasize a different point. Instead of forcing her own interpretation upon the viewers, she encouraged patrons to share their thoughts with her.
“I think what we can benefit from is actually sharing different perspectives, different backgrounds, different interpretations,” Sato said.
Sato’s pieces were not descriptively titled. The photos featured in a video loop are titled only with coordinates, hiding the buildings’ origins.
Despite the obscurity, Sato’s love for urban life and culture is evident. Her overall goal is to inspire curiosity and push the audience to fully appreciate their surroundings.
“I think what I’m trying to do is break the [idea] of just going from point A to point B to actually enjoying the journey, to be present in the moment while going to places,” Sato said. “And also understanding this as a metaphor for the place, where everyone can be because [the city] is a public space.”
At the end of her exhibit, a QR code asked participants to put their thoughts into a form. The form asked them to “go, look around and share your own perspective of the space.”
Sato and Hernandez redefined ideas of interpretation in their own unique ways while remaining connected as a pair in their artistic journeys and honoring their respective mediums and themes.
The arts desk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mylien Lai is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum. Outside of getting lost in Buffalo, she enjoys practicing the piano and being a bean plant mom. She can be found at @my_my_my_myliennnn on Instagram.