After two years of intensive studio work, 25 graduate students in painting, sculpture and graphics and 9 graduate students in arts education have the chance to show the fruits of their labor in three exhibitions, until April 24.
The largest of the exhibits, the MFA Painting and Sculpture Exhibition, is on display at the 808 Gallery. Massive sculpture Dreadlocks, by Claire Roll (CFA’16), is the first thing visitors see in the gallery, it literally takes them into space. Several works by 13 painting students from the MFA make up the remainder of the exhibition.
People entering can walk through Roll’s colorful, curvy, braided structure made of wood, fabric, wire and foam. Her thesis project presents “an invitation to participate in a community experience,” she says. “It invites the public to engage physically by going through recognized architectural forms: thresholds. Dreadlocks is also “to forge a human connection through the accumulation of ritual actions”. For Roll, the act of wrapping, weaving and building the structure became ceremonial through his use of repetition. She says her interactive creations are “metaphorical representations of a transformative ritual and lineage – the connection between whoever came before, who passes in the present, and who follows after.”
The only sculptor represented in the exhibition, Roll incorporates materials like cement and copper into his other works, which dot the vast space, attracting customers like a magnet.
Not far from Dreadlocks is a wall of paintings by Leeanne Maxey (CFA’16). In an exhibition largely filled with large canvases with neon color palettes, abstract compositions, and wild textural elements, Maxey’s work makes an impressive impact due to its subversive delicacy, an effect achieved through its primarily use. watercolor.
Two of his pieces, Construction, done in watercolor on canvas overboard, and Act naturally, watercolor and oil on canvas overboard, presents a cropped view of a limb associated with overgrown leaves or grass. Compositionally, these works reflect a division, both in their horizontal, perfect-like layering, and in their competing detail, from fine hairs on one arm to a tangle of vibrant green blades of grass. Not only the level of detail, but also the vibrancy that it gets with the watercolors is impressive.
“I find it compelling that as a society we build nature and then use our ideas about it to reinforce cultural narratives and expectations about body presentation, sexuality and the landscape itself,” says Maxey. “The female body and the landscape have historically been subjected to tales of discovery, exploration and conquest, but continue to be seen as having essential natures under male control. As a lesbian who grew up in the South, my identities were often at odds with ideologies rooted in my evangelical education and in my wider community. In response, I use organic matter imagery to deepen the idea of the natural versus the abnormal, a theme that comes up often when discussing my sexuality with my family at home.
Corey Larue (CFA’16) also draws inspiration from his own life to be inspired by his paintings. “My work is on the Chicano experience,” he says. “The images in my paintings relate to this experience and refer to political and family concerns and to my Chicano heritage. The materials I use also refer to elements of the pictorial dialogue presented.
A standout exhibition is that of Larue Chocolate, made with chocolate and wax on canvas. Like many of his works, the piece features subtle religious imagery, with a cross embossed in the middle of the canvas and a blue bandana affixed to its center. Mixed with wax and spread around the canvas, chocolate has a rusty and grainy effect. Larue also conveys a sense of violence with the perforations and stripes that appear around the composition. Chocolate, he says, refers to colonialism and “the current genocides affecting indigenous communities in the Americas for the sake of making basic products.” Such communities, he says, are “forced into chaotic systems of violence, one of them being organized crime – which is why I used a blue bandana in the painting.”
Beside Chocolate hang up Larue’s painting Las Paredes, a canvas with an aluminum flashing that hides an underlay. The slats between the turn signals barely expose what lies below, inviting the viewer to come closer to investigate. Larue says the title and the work itself “refer to the wall, or border, between the United States and South America” as well as the “mental and spiritual walls” that people are building around it. ‘them.
“It is my goal as an artist of color to create a dialogue about race and belonging,” he says, “with the intention of demystifying and normalizing aspects of my heritage to the mainstream culture. “
Richard Ryan, associate professor of painting at CFA, describes this year’s MFA painting and sculpture exhibition as “courageous and adventurous,” praising the energy the students displayed throughout the program. “They have created a wonderful living, breathing exhibit.”
A short distance down Commonwealth Avenue and across the street, visitors can attend the graphic design thesis exhibit, titled _______ Point, at the Faye G., Jo and James Stone Gallery, which features the works by 11 MFA students, ranging from bold posters to interactive installations.
For her thesis project, Erin Sanders (CFA’16) created AD ** English language holder. Presented both as a book and as large wall posters, the humorous work features re-appropriated words and their definitions, many of which are inspired by pop culture phenomena and millennial sensibility (an example is the word ‘textpectation’). , which Sanders defines as “the anticipation one feels when waiting for a response to an SMS”).
Sanders is struck by the beautiful way in which the language is able to evolve to reflect the time. “As graphic designers,” she says, “our job is to keep up with technological advances and become cultural anthropologists. My hope was to cultivate cultural awareness in a way accessible to my audience.
For his graphic design project, Protect endangered species from global warming, Ge Feng (CFA’16) created a swarm of realistic butterflies. Printing them on transparent paper in contrasting blue and yellow with a laser printer, she incorporated text, which appears on some of the butterfly’s wings, with facts about endangered species.
Feng says butterflies are meant to be “a metaphor for all endangered species.” Her research on the subject shed light on the particular sensitivity of butterflies to global warming. “Plus,” she said, “they’re so beautiful and fragile. She fixed the butterflies on galvanized steel wire and installed them on foam board so that they protrude from the walls of the gallery and give the impression of quivering. Additionally, she placed some of the butterflies – the burnt and melted ones – further along the wall and on the ground to “represent how global warming is driving species to extinction.”
The final installment of the School of Visual Arts’ thesis work can be found several floors above the Stone Gallery, in gallery 5 on the fifth floor: the Art Education MA Thesis Exhibition, showcasing the projects of nine students from the MA Studio Teaching and Art Education programs. Written descriptions of the philosophies developed by students in their teaching are paired with their students’ work.
The MFA Painting and Sculpture Thesis Exhibition is held at 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave .; Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., closed on Monday. The MFA Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition is held at the Faye G., Jo and James Stone Gallery, College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Ave .; Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., closed on Monday. The MA thesis exhibition in Arts Education is located at CFA’s Gallery 5, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Fifth Floor; open during normal construction hours. All exhibitions run until Sunday April 24 and are free and open to the public.
Mara Sassoon can be contacted at [email protected]
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