Symphonies of color showcased in exhibition

Curator Max Otake discusses the "Unsettled Landscapes'' exhibit with a tour group at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on April 20. The exhibit runs through July 23. / photo by Nareg Agopian
Curator Max Otake discusses the “Unsettled Landscapes” exhibit with a tour group at the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College on April 20. The exhibit runs through July 23. / photo by Nareg Agopian

Madison Hudson
Staff Writer

The Benton Museum of Art hosted two new exhibits, “Creation in Three Lines” and “Unsettled Landscapes” on April 20 as their opening celebration.

Curators Max Uehara and Max Otake provided exhibition tours and a reception followed by John and Louise Bryson Courtyard. 

The portfolio behind the “Creation of Three Lines,” which American artist Stanton Macdonald-Wright completed in the 1960s while residing at a Buddhist monastery in Kyoto, was motivated by his observations of the haiku tradition and its evolution through three centuries of modern Japanese history.  

Leila Al-Shibibi, a sophomore art history major at Pomona College, was influenced by a wide range of cultural influences, including beauty, compassion and dullness. Her portfolio consisted of colorful abstract pieces of art and displayed them to show how each canvas presents a very unique story.

“I express stories through abstract ways that few will understand,” Al-Shabibi said. “That’s the beauty behind conceptual art, you have to dive deeper into the image to create an idea of what the story is.”

In order to generate what could be considered symphonies of color, the theory of Synchromism aimed to map music theory—or, in the case of this portfolio, poetics—onto color theory. But in this collection of the three lines, the haiku tradition’s representational objectivity frequently triumphs over the abstract correlation. 

Otake, who is also a senior environmental analysis and studio art major at Pomona-Pitzer, said he was inspired by Macdonald-Wright’s art piece, “Slow days piling up, how distant they seem, these past times.” Heused this as a piece of creativity to help launch his art. 

“The idea behind ‘Slow days piling up’ and the way the art flows together looks like such a fluid piece of line work even though it took forever to create the individual slots of locationary settings,” Otake said. 

All around the museum, there are different conceptual pieces of art that are based around the “Creations of Lines” and the exhibit “Unsettled Landscapes.” The idea behind “Unsettled Landscapes” focused primarily on lithographs and linocuts.

“Unsettled Landscapes” challenges the romanticized notion of landscapes as harmonious and serene, asking viewers to instead consider the tensions that simmer particularly in representations of the American West. 

Nilo Naraghi, the Benton Museum’s visitor services manager, remarked that each semester, the museum hosts a pop-up exhibition for its visitors who attend the colloquia. 

The Benton Museum offers internship opportunities to students who hope to succeed in the art department alongside allowing them to gain the ability to showcase their artwork.

Sydney Seymour, a senior theater and classics major at Pomona College, is a founding Image Partner with Pomona College’s Center for Speaking, Writing, and the Image (C-SWIM). She believes that art is used to express oneself through various different mediums. 

As Seymour worked with C-SWIM, her ability to build her portfolio came easier than expected because she was able to shape together prints and photographs into a collage with the extension of speaking about the meaning behind her presentation.

If you are interested in receiving more information on upcoming exhibit visits, Their upcoming exhibit will take place on Aug. 23 which will showcase June Harwood’s paintings.

Madison Hudson can be reached at

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