Tuesday, June 1, 2010

UW MFA 2010

It seemed like last year's MFA show was all about the painting. Being a painter myself, I had no issue with that. Well, what a difference a year makes; I think there are only 2 painters graduating this year (out of a class of 22). It's a really great show (I know, I say that every year - but I really do mean it every time). In fact, I'd say it's the most interesting one I've seen yet.

My only criticism is that as I went further into the MFA exhibit, I got mildly confused as to where it ended and Vortex Polyphonica began so I'm not quite sure that I saw all the work. It wasn't until later in the evening that I finally noticed the MFA Exhibition designation on the wall texts.

by Peter Nelson

Peter Nelson made a beautiful video of his parents discussing rough times during their marriage. Wearing huge paper mâché heads (and hands), Peter and his wife reenacted the dialogue which resulted in a powerful piece that totally caught me off-guard. For the opening reception, Peter's parents performed (tongue-twister!) live - his father stage left and his mother stage right - with the vast expanse between echoing the emotional distance that invariably happens in any long term relationship. Kudos to Peter for coming up with such a risky idea and cheers to his parents for trusting in their son to do right by them.

by Lisa Rickey

The first piece we saw were Lisa Rickey's amazing metal pillows. From a distance, they look light enough to float away - it was as if she re-made Andy Warhol's silver clouds and tethered them to the earth. I thought they were beautiful and it was great to see some sculptures in the courtyard.

Jacob Foran (front), Jenny Kam & Ren Sun (background)

The East Gallery looked pretty slick. Work by Ren Sun, Jenny Kam, Stephen Cummings, and Jacob Foran really worked well together. It didn't feel like an MFA show - it felt like a gallery in LA.

by Jacob Foran

If I had to choose an immediate favorite, it would probably be Gyrecraft (No. 1) by Jacob Foran. I just wasn't expecting it. On first look, it appears to be made of wood. I was almost disappointed to find out it was made of clay until I realized how much more ambitious that was. Jacob's work appears to be about the self, journeys and vehicles to take you there. It made me think of a floating raft/flying saucer. It also reminded me of the tv show Lost. The center of the piece is goldleaf and lit by one spotlight hanging overhead. (The artist didn't watch the show, nor was he inspired by it to make this piece).

by Laura Swytak

It was great to see these paintings of kitchen tables by Laura Swytak. Certain elements are intentionally larger than they should be and the perspective is really interesting. There's also something poignant about scenes where people are absent. An empty cereal bowl means that someone was here - most likely recently. The light in these is amazing. As she recounted the months they were painted it, your brain automatically tests it against your own rememberance of light here in Seattle.

by Alwyn O'Brien

I keep coming back to Alwyn O'Brien's weird amorphous sculptures. They feel like a vessel that contains something important (and deeply personal). While they look like paper mâché, they're actually slip-cast porcelain. I felt an immediate kinship and they keep running through my brain. I can't wait to get back and spend some more time with these.

by Hanita Schwartz

I really enjoyed this piece by Hanita Schwartz. I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but basically it's a container that's internally bisected. The artist has created six different ways to interact by looking inside (video cameras, holes, windows). There's something exciting in the exploration (look at Amanda's face for evidence)!

I didn't get pictures of everything but I also really liked Rumi Koshino beautiful sumi ink scroll, Maggie Carson Romano's saline drip ball, Sam Payne's elaborate installation/"drawing", Bryan Schoneman's transmission sculptures and Ren Sun's massive painting of the Himalayas.

Here's my full flickr set. And here are Amanda's thoughts on the show.

Congratulations class of 2010! I hope you stick around and integrate yourself into Seattle's welcoming artistic community.


harold hollingsworth said...

looking forward to seeing this work, nice heads up Joey!

Joey Veltkamp said...

HAROLD! Where have you been? I feel like haven't seen you in a hundred years! Our paths must cross soon!

Carol said...

Hi Joey,

In fact there were five painting MFAs graduating. In addition to Laura Swytak and Ren Sun, graduates Sam Payne, Stephen Cummings, and Gary Carpenter are graduating from the painting program. Because their work has ventured into drawing, sculpture and installation, it is not as readily apparent to the visitor.

Joey Veltkamp said...

Carol - you are totally right and realized that almost as soon I hit 'post'. Sam and I even talked about how he came from the school of painting. Last year just seemed to be ALL about painting. Did you write an essay again this year? Is it online somewhere I can link to?

Evren Artiran said...

Carol, in fact there were six painting MFAs graduating. Laura, Gary, Stephen, Sam, Ren, and myself.