Senior artist presents wistful, mysterious art in the Nott Memorial

Rebekah Lindsay

This fall, the Wikoff Student Gallery welcomes the work of talented artist Natalya Brill ’19 as she presents her solo exhibit.

There is a delicate strength to the inky narratives she creates in each piece. Brill delves into the existential, the mysterious, the mundane, the ominous, the bright and the beautiful in “Wherever the Mushrooms Grow.”

The exhibit consists of a dozen digitally altered drawings, each paired with a thought-provoking phrase or two. Though completely without context, the words evoke a certain power. For example, a detached head with its mouth wide open is suspended in wispy abstract images, paired with the phrase “I didn’t want you to know about the sponge, but there you go, now you do.”

A similarly ambiguous image resembling a cloudy cell split in two is strengthened with Brill’s poetry, “we [sic] just wanted to wake up in your house / without you waking up in ours.”

Brill believes that “[t]he relationship between visual and oral language is something that we take for granted. When we see messages accompanied by an image, we process both as one and instantly, visually. Only afterward do we, as a viewer, attempt to understand and deconstruct what is in front of us. The effect both elements have when deliberately placed together gives the presentation an entirely alternate meaning. A message might have a different meaning when presented alone or could resonate with its audience in a different manner.”

This is true in that the connection between written word and visual beauty in Brill’s work leaves the viewer in wonder, but on an introspective plane.

A highlight of the exhibit depicts a landscape of mountains with the phrase “why did we spend forty minutes yesterday / talking about / how / the dishes made us feel?” Another piece, tinged with a more painful aura, includes detailed insect wings, flecked with red.

They are captioned, “there will be no more honey / for your tea.” The disembodied wing of a bee carries the clarity of an impending deterioration of our ecosystem.

A girl walking, leaving shadowed footsteps in her wake, stands alone — the only piece without a caption.

Brill’s vision is executed well in diverse, minimalistic images.

Her ability to create dystopian, environmental and existential substance held within simple, artfully-created pieces has her viewers breathlessly awaiting the continuation of her work.

Brill’s artwork will be on display through November 12 at the Nott Memorial.