The most recent show to come to Covenant, on display in the library’s art gallery upstairs, is “Difficulties in Translation,” by Brian C. Moss. Viewers enter a space transformed by a range of materials. Black paper is nailed to the wall. Rocks are piled in a corner. There are diptychs made from iPhones and a hanging transparent sheet with an image of the tower of Babel printed on it. Together, they prompt the question: What do all these things mean and why are they here in our gallery?
Moss hails from California and is a long-time friend of Jeff Morton, head of the Art Department faculty. This show is the result of years of conversation and thinking, culminating in ideas put to physicality on the day of the show. After visiting the Venice Biennale this summer, Moss started playing with ideas around the topic of religion, specifically Judaism. Morton asked Moss to come and prepare a site-specific show, which is not typical for Covenant’s gallery.
Instead of trying to explain each aspect of the show and its exact meaning, Moss focuses on creating an experience that he’s not even sure he understands. Though it may be tempting to debate how this show is “art,” it is important to remember that art so often falls in “the grey.” Instead of asking what we are supposed to get from a piece, sometimes it is more important to simply experience it and let the art tell us what it will. There is no set formula for understanding art, particularly work such as Moss’.
“Difficulties in translation” is unique in nature, especially considering the pieces in the show have never been displayed together in this manner. I encourage you to engage with Moss’ work: to view and sit and read. You might be surprised by what you find.