Trustman Art Gallery

Drifting Clouds

Featuring work by Paola de la Calle & Melanie Bernier

February 13 - March 31

Opening Reception:
Thursday, February 16

Simmons University presents Drifting Clouds, featuring work by Paola de la Calle & Melanie Bernier. The exhibition runs from Monday, February 13, 2023 to Friday, March 31, 2023. The opening reception is on Thursday, February 16 from 5 to 8 PM at the Trustman Art Gallery.

Drifting Clouds investigates the power and potential of fiber as a medium for storytelling, reflection, meditation and activism.  Together, the artworks by Bernier and de la Calle create an opportunity to consider the way that two seemingly divergent issues are becoming more and more entwined over time.  Matters concerning environmental collapse and sustainability are inextricably linked with patterns of migration and memory.

In her work, de la Calle examines personal as well as historical and political narratives.  She uses textiles, collage and printmaking to share stories surrounding identity, home, nostalgia, borders and migration.  Her intricate artworks combine printed cotton, fabric and canvas to reveal fractures and draw links between past and present.  

Bernier uses recycled and locally sourced materials to create meticulous fiber-based sculptures and artworks that explore connections between internal emotions and external forces.  Her visuals conflate human desire with the natural world providing commentary on our powerful and terrifying ability to transform the planet and, more hopefully, its potential to transform us.  

Paola de la Calle is a Colombian-American interdisciplinary artist whose work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally.  She is a graduate of the New York Foundation of the Arts Immigrant Artist Program in 2019 and the lead artist for the Caravan for the Children Campaign as part of her residency with Galeria de la Raza. She’s a recipient of the KALA Fellowship Award and a current artist-in-residence at the Textile Arts Center. Her work has been published in The New Farmer’s Almanac and Graphite Journal. Her studio practice has been featured on Hyperallergic’s “A View from the Easel”, KQED’s Rightnowish,  The Boston Art Review, and VOGUE among others.

Melanie Bernier is a visual artist, actor, and musician. Bernier blends humor, personal history and political urgency with story to create works that span multiple media. Her fiber sculptures, videos, and songs insist on transformation – between self and other, past and future, human and environment, this and that.  She has toured the US with several bands and frequently acts on stage and in film. Her current band is Boston Cream.  Bernier’s activism has landed her in handcuffs – for non-violent civil disobedience – and in the pages of the Boston Compass writing a column called Trash is Tragic. She has worked with Punk Rock Aerobics, New Craft Artists in Action, Queer Sport Split, Standing Rock, Mass Equality, Extinction Rebellion, and Girls Rock Campaign.  Her work has been shown at the Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), Dirt Palace (Providence), and Evening Hours (NYC). It has been reviewed in Art in America, Creative Time Reports, Vice, and Maximum Rock n’ Roll. She was recently a finalist for the 2022 Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards.

Trustman Art Gallery hours are 10 AM – 4:30 PM, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 10 AM – 7 PM on Wednesday and Thursday. The gallery is free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact Kyle Mendelsohn at (617) 521-2268 or find us on Instagram.