Patterns abound in The Balcony’s first art show of the year

The Balcony, an organization that features 5C student artwork, hosted its first show of the year, “Pattern,” on Nov. 15. (Luba Masliy • The Student Life)

To the organizers behind The Balcony’s first art show of the academic year, a pattern is the “sense that what has come before will predict what is to come … our spiritual defense against entropy.” 

The Balcony’s show, “Pattern,” challenged attendees to reckon with the importance of pattern in our daily life and was held Nov. 15 at the Pomona College Studio Art Hall, according to the event’s Facebook page. It proposed that screens monitor patterns, our DNA holds them and that nature reflects them.

The fact that people are inherently “pattern-recognizing machines” and that “all patterns make us feel,” serves as the show’s mission statement.

Chloe Wanaselja PO 21, one of the event’s organizers, described The Balcony as a very collaborative space. 

“It’s really whatever we decide we want it to be,” she said. “We have sort of a basic structure but it’s really open for creativity.”

The Balcony’s interest in all forms of creativity is evidenced in the diversity of pieces that made up the show. Works ranged from paintings and poetry to tapestry work, collage and sculpture — all in conversation with ideas of repetition.

“We always come up with shows that you’re able to interpret in lots of different ways,” Wanaselja said. “We were thinking a lot about the obvious sort of definition of pattern and [everything] associated with it like emotional patterns, patterns of speech and patterns of behavior. We thought there was a lot that could be done with the topic.” 

Many of the pieces at “Pattern” had multiple interpretations. A sculpture of hanging vertebrae by Ise Sharp PO ’21, for example, was an intriguing topic of discussion for attendees.

“I’m interested in … the ways that we can use [our] forms to create abstraction,” she said. “What I really like about working with small individual pieces like this is that they can be manipulated to create different shapes the more that I add on.”

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Attendees were surprised by the range of pieces and mediums represented. 

“I wasn’t expecting to see a poem,” said Celia Parry PO 23, noting how she was accustomed to perceiving art as paintings and sculptures, but was pleasantly surprised by the literary work.

Beliz Aluc PO 23 seconded Parry’s interest in “Synapses” by Sienna Ross PZ ’22 and was moved by the intricacy of pattern displayed in our speech and sounds.

“My favorite is the poem [because] it’s different, it stands out from the other pieces,” she said. “I liked the pattern that the artist tried to employ with different words and the placement of the words.”

Some students were inspired to be more involved in the 5Cs’ art scene, like Marcus Liu PO ’20, who had previously never set foot in the art hall.

Liu elaborated on his favorite piece from the show, enamored by how pattern in art can evoke emotions that are immediately familiar. 

“I’m always interested in poetry, and [“Synapses”] is very great written work,” he said. “It really captures the feeling of anxiety [in college].”

The “Pattern” art show was also an opportunity for artists to mix and match their work to create something entirely new. 

Oliver Spivey PO ’22 said his piece came together in the last few days before the show. 

“My co-producer had built this [mirrored] structure, and she thought it would be cool to project my recording on it,” he said, pleased with the opportunity for collaboration.

Wanaselja summed up the beauty of decoding patterns in art.

“I like the … repetition of line and how every single stroke is very simple,” she said. “But together they create something complex.”

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