Over the weekend I attended Hunter’s MFA Open Studios. I didn’t take down any names, but I took enough pictures to share with you. Usually I walk out of there gasping for fresh air and sight of the outside world, its such an enclosed labyrinth in there, but I understand it can be worse. Not to mention I’m usually disappointed and dismissive of what I see: bad, unsuccessful low grade work. But I was very impressed by this semester’s works. There was a wide range of mediums and styles, all thoughtfully executed and conceptualized. There was color, process, technique and theory embedded into each work and I really enjoyed witnessing these works fresh off the aspiring artist’s hands. If I was disappointed with anything, it was my self-consciousness inhibiting me from talking to these students. Next time.
A sculpture made from tiered frames supported by headless broom sticks that are precariously balanced and held in place by a single broken marble floor piece. I think about Chris Johanson and Matthew Day Jackson when I see this sculpture. The blocked frontal view from viewer to painting, the use of found and discarded material, the haphazard bringing together of disparate materials, the only concern is what goes on beyond what you see. It’s a very tactile and present work, and might reflect the delicacy of a support system in society, in the self, in reality. Individual lives are framed within a social and culture context and a bureaucratic system keeps one on top of the other, and although each person is closely linked to the next, there exists an unstable disconnect that may or may not tumble and ensure chaos. Maybe I seek too far.
A minimal but effective installation with large diluted gestural paint splattered and spilling down the wall. A dried flower, cut out of a dog, and painted stockings staged on the wall and floor, seems to be an ode to the dead, it’s sad and melancholy, disturbing and mysterious, but serene and dreamy also.
This was made from a huge mdf woodcut, there were a few of these lines along the wall, the perspective is what catches your eye. A line of determined strong black men with then fists to their hearts, pledging, promising, except the viewer is about 2 feet taller and the figure foreshortened, making them vulnerable and a caricatured.
A series of thin pastel shaded shelves are mounted on the wall and above stands a mirror at an angle coming out towards the viewer and reflected on that mirror is house-scape photographs that are laying on the shelf. Reminded me of Haim Steinbach with its reference to the everyday and domesticity, of putting on a pedestal something so benign and banal, a fundamental element of living, and as we see now, a determinant of a crushing economy, job loss, and failing market. The mirror reflecting these homes and interiors perhaps a reminder that we need to take the public personal, go back to our roots, go back home and meditate on a finer, globalized, stable home. You can see how much I’m projecting here.
Nifty collage cut out of drawings.
An action packed painting, a headache for the eyes but mesmerizing and hypnotizing in the pattern, the shape and course of cascading elements. The vibrancy and pop-ness of color flattens the plane but does not prevent it from its movement.
Crafty DIY style journalistic drawings, personal and kitsch.
The artist lined 3 walls with photographs of his daughter and instructed viewers to write write on a colored paper describing a relative and tack on top of any of the photographs. A co-mingling of family via word and image, these relatives meet on a conceptual level. Very interactive and performative.
This artist actually had images of Lisa Yuskavage on her wall, she actually looked like a Yuskavage model. That’s pretty much all I have to say.
Childish doodles atop photographs. I like the grid it forms. Multiple narration, experimental, brainstorming.
Self-portrait elements in these vibrant colorful exotic frolicking scenes of contemporary adam and eve. A series of these paintings line the wall and in each her face expression is frozen, unrelated to the remainder of her body and surrounding. Just kind of stuck, stiff, emotionless. This in despite of all the lushness that is going on, a contradictory dichotomy makes these a detail obsessed success.
One of my favorites, I think Miro, Surrealism, Kusama.
I think Louis Bourgeois, Kiki Smith. It’ grotesque, awe-some, crippled, somber, sober. Seems to be made by an older by-now-established artist rather than an MFA student. Very impressive.
A performance involving strong thick wires and how it reacts to body actions. The 2 girls are wearing a costume made of bras, giving them alien status. One sits on the floor obsessively pensively knotting herself one wire at a time, while the other experiments with lashing, jumproping, tightening and loosening the wire against, from, and to her body.
A room with floating tree trunks lit with painful green flourescent lighting. It was empty for a couple smoking at the corner.
Executed with intensity, determination, precision. Thumbprints, movement, expressive in a forcefully toned down way. It wants to get out, its on the brink of explosion, eternal expansion. I liked these very much.
It’s rare I get this sort of response from an MFA show, good job guys.