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t s Beall and Hiraki Sawa videos at the Colby Museum

November 21, 2008

The Colby College Museum of Art presents two video exhibitions this fall that explore the sense of place. Shows by London-based Hiraki Sawa, whose work was called "enchanting" in the New York Times, and Glasgow-based emerging artist t s Beall, will be on view through January at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Using video animation, Sawa combines actual footage with superimposed images to create imaginary, often miniaturized worlds. Airplanes fly through an otherwise mundane apartment. Figures of people and animals walk across kitchen sinks and bathtubs. Wrote the New Yorker, "A London-based Japanese artist adopts the English penchant, a la Beatrix Potter and Lewis Carroll, for making quiet domestic interiors come surrealistically alive."

Sawa's work has been exhibited in major cities worldwide including Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, New York, Seoul and Tokyo. In 2007, in response to Sawa’s piece "Dwelling," Time Out London wrote, "The film has quite understandably been snapped up by many a curator, as there are few artists working with animation with such a lightness of touch, openness to allegory and unabashed charm." The exhibition at Colby includes "Dwelling," "Migration," and "Hidden Tree," on view Nov. 6-Jan. 25.

In currents5, t s Beall uses video surveillance footage downloaded from the Internet focusing on desolate landscapes that she describes as existing “on the edges of our understanding.” The imagery rotates slowly from a pair of structures resembling watchtowers. One projector shows live feeds from Web cameras; two others display prerecorded time-lapse sequences taken from scientific expeditions in Antarctica, military reconnaissance planes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and surveillance cameras in the desert along the U.S.–Mexico border.

The title of the installation, Here Be Dragons, on view through Feb. 1, derives from the medieval practice of adding sea serpents and other mythological creatures to the peripheries of maps to denote the unknown.

Beall studied art at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design in New York, the Glasgow School of Art, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. Beyond the United States, she has exhibited work in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Scotland, and Sweden.

Currents is a series of annual exhibitions by emerging artists with connections to Maine who push the boundaries of traditional art forms. Special attention is given to artists working in new media, such as installation, video, performance and site-specific works. Previous currents exhibits have featured Amy Stacey Curtis, Lihua Lei, Julianne Swartz and Sam Van Aken.

The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. For more information call 207-859-5600 or visit

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