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Roni Nicholson with "Ocean"

It’s like Physics for Poets! Bwog’s 168th Street Correspondent Megan McGregor reports from an art gallery at the Medical School.

Walking into Columbia’s Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion lobby expecting an art exhibition entices bizarre mental images of what one might find.  However, expect to be pleasantly surprised.  Columbia University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs (which, strangely enough, holds all of its exhibitions in the lobbies of two CU Medical Center buildings – the Pavilion and the Lasker Biomedical Research Building), is currently showcasing the work of Harlem-based Columbia School of Social Work ’77 alumna Roni Nicholson.

Yesterday evening the lobby of Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion was bubbling with champagne as old friends reminisced and embraced, celebrating the opening of Roni Nicholson’s new exhibition “Memories.” It consists of sculptural works of wood, paint, and pastels created over the past year.  The collection is titled “Memories” “because [the pieces are] sort of my life,” says Nicholson. Native of Kassel, Germany, Nicholson gives many of her pieces aquatic themes, since she “loves water… swimming and water are very important to [her].” However, she  named other pieces after places and other “memories”– “They’re all part of my life story up to this point.”

Photos by Megan McGregor

Although abstract, Roni Nicholson’s sculptures can even be appreciated by those skeptical of modern art, since her subtly beautiful interpretations are not far-fetched. Fellow local artist and friend Kathy Frey says on Nicholson’s work: “I just think they’re really lovely… very different from her other works.  The color has a very wonderful impact… but it’s so subtle that it makes it kind of shimmer.”

Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion and Lasker Biomedical Research Building are located at 1150 St. Nicholas Avenue at 168th Street and 3960 Broadway (enter at 166th Street), respectively.  The exhibition runs through March 18.

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