Michelman creates a piece that's distinctly Dartmouth

by Christine Huggins | 11/24/03 6:00am

Elizabeth Michelman '77's post-college record did not immediately point her in the direction of becoming an artist. Like a lot of Dartmouth students, she's led a varied and exciting life.

After graduating in 1976 as a government major, she took a year off and went to a small fishing town in Alaska to write for the local newspaper. Not sure where to go next, she headed to law school. Once she got her law degree, she worked at the American Bar Association as a specialist in legal ethics. A few years later, Michelman took her first art class, and eventually gave up law to pursue what became her true passion.

Michelman not only speaks through her story but also through her art work. On display at the front of the Hop is her newest work entitled "Vox Clamantis."

During an all-access interview with The Dartmouth, Michelman explained about not only the artwork itself, but the importance of the space in which it is presented. She noted the context in which a piece of art can be presented is art in itself; therefore, the glass encased Barrows Rotunda at the front of the Hop is worth recognizing.

Of the space Michelman said, "It was inspiring, yet terrifying. There you are looking out at the world, and the world is looking back at you."

During the setup of the piece, Michelman carefully placed the many glass blocks that comprise her piece, playing with the lighting, walking outside to view the overall effect.

"Vox Clamantis" consists of three groups of three columns made up of angled glass cubes. Inside the glass columns there are lights that bounce around and change throughout the day. Michelman made it clear that her art is never meant to be static. It is to be ever-changing throughout the course of the day as the lighting changes.

Interestingly, beneath the regal glass columns lay tons of "Dartmouth green" shattered glass. This contrast of glasses makes the piece "decorative and upsetting, elegant and jagged," according to Michelman. This phrasing reveals that "Vox Clamantis" is a piece that was created specifically for Dartmouth.

Truly, Michelman's artwork is a voice in the wilderness, but one that its creator hopes many will hear.