Hershall Seals presents: a Moby Dick Experience

By Haylee Jorgensen

Contributing Writer

As the first Fine Arts Experience of the 2017 fall semester, Mr. Hershall Seals unveiled his exhibition, A Moby Dick Experience, in

Photos of Seals’ art work on Moby Dick in September on the UMHB campus. Photos by Halee Jorgensen

the Baugh Visual Arts gallery on Monday, Aug. 21. The exhibit ran through Friday, Sept. 22

“I was excited and grateful to all who came to the artist talk at the opening of the exhibit,” Seals said. “Over two hundred people in attendance was easily the largest group I ever presented to. I was pretty nervous and glad I had prepared my thoughts.”

Around 15 years ago, Seals began his transition from realistic to abstract painting. “It was as if I had an artistic ‘mid-life crisis.’” Seals said. “Emotional and intellectual stretching was helped by reading what Melville had to say about leaving the safety of the port to explore the ‘howling infinite’ where ‘resides the highest truth.’ This metaphor helped me navigate a different way of making art.”

Seals Melville’s “Moby Dick” along with Dr. Phil Dunham, who acted as a coach to Seals in his “voyage into abstraction.”

“We taught art together at UMHB for 23 years until his death in December of 2012,” Seals said. “This exhibit is my way of honoring his influence on my life.”

Seals’ three exhibition paintings represented the last three chapters of “Moby Dick,” and the gallery was brought to life through his use of sound, light, temperature and scent. Seals enlisted the help Mr. Larry Locke, associate dean of the McLane College of Business and associate professor, to record the gallery’s sound loop reciting the last three chapters of “Moby Dick,” which played alongside whale songs. The lights of the gallery were turned off, only l

Photos of Seals’ art work on Moby Dick in September on the UMHB campus. Photos by Halee Jorgensen

eaving spotlights on Seal’s three multimedia pieces. An interior wall was installed to keep light from the hallway shine in. The temperature of the gallery was slightly lowered, and a salted Scentsy was placed in it to imitate the smell of the ocean.

“One thing I took away from the exhibit was a greater appreciation for abstract work,” sophomore studio art major and psychology minor, Bronwyn Taff, said. “I tend to prefer more realistic pieces, but seeing Mr. Seals’ abstract oceans, with a hint of realism thrown in, was very cool. Also, as a studio artist, I know how intriguing multimedia is to work with, and Mr. Seals used it very effectively.”

Taking all of this into consideration, Seals’ exhibit was a huge success. “Personally, I thought the exhibit was well conceived, interesting, well crafted, professional in concept, technique and execution,” Barnes said. “And it was a unique, intelligent take on the last three chapters of Moby Dick.”

Overall, Seals’ exhibit, A Moby Dick Experience, was a hit with students, faculty and visitors, capturing their interest and succeeding in creating an environment that not only displayed his work, but also allowed viewers to immerse themselves into the world

of Melville’s “Moby Dick.”

Photos of Seals’ art work on Moby Dick in September on the UMHB campus. Photos by Halee Jorgensen

Author: The Bells Staff

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