Wunderkammer: BFA Student Exhibition

April 18, 2013

By Jackie Kunst Published in The Tiger Newspaper

“Wunderkammer.” It is a term coined in 16th century translating as a “cabinet of wonder,” and a very fitting title for the upcoming B.F.A. gallery opening. The show, open April 8th-12th is the first of a series of senior showcases for the largest graduating class the Art Department has yet to yield. The pieces are the culmination of a year’s dedicated thematic research and four years of technical artistic maturation. The work in the show supersedes the binds of societal conventions in sculpture, revels in the ambience and intricacies of layered paint and graphite, highlights the personally unique nuances found through a camera lens, and brings to the table the visual breadth and varied texture of the printmaking process. The senior work consists of sculptures created by Mariana Hay, prints by Kirsten Asplund, drawings by Jessica Carey, paintings by Natalie Rushing, and photography by Lindsey Harris.

The playful dichotomy found in Mariana Hay’s sculptures will spark the gallery goers’ interest. Her work exploits gender constructs, presented in the conventions of gender specific hobbies, home décor, and aesthetic preference. She highlights how the competing characteristics inherent to hearty masculinity and delicate beauty mesh, clash, relate to, and inevitably complement one another, achieving a natural harmony. The sculpted, “gender-pleasing” objects are meant to function cohesively in the gallery but stand alone honorably on their own as well- each a picture of the greater social construct man and woman – relevant to ever viewer, no matter the role they play.

The thematically laden content in the works of Kirsten Asplund will evoke a visceral response in the viewer. Through the laborious printmaking technique, she seeks to delineate the “struggle to stabilize and cohere, interpersonal relationships, and identity” in respects to the complex and ever changing concept of home and place. Her obscured and transmutated figures challenge physical reality in order to represent the visceral and emotional response of being and identity.

Expect to be floored by the photo realistic craft and mastery with which drawing concentration, Jessica Carey brings an ephemeral portrait to fruition. With a delicate hand, she explores her past, drawing both traditional portraits and still life representatives of the human essence. She draws with the intuitive drive and longing to understand who her mother and grandmother were and the enduring relationship that transcends linear time and seeps through the veil separating life and the beyond.

Natalie Rushing uses every hue and texture achievable in the medium of paint to build up thick, hatched, gestural brushstrokes that collectively harmonize in patterns and blocks to form a portrait. Large scale and realistic, the eyes of the female subjects confront the viewer, presenting a question of shocking uncertainty of who is actually viewing who. From the beginning of her process, her works seem to exhibit a raw, inherent glow that either warms or haunts the viewer. She hopes the audience will share in the subject’s “out-of-body” and “reverent psychological state” as she uses the expressive medium to better understand the world and culture around her.

A glimpse at one of Lindsey Harris’s photographs and the viewer feels as if it is them, following a girl through a field- hearing the rustling of the grass, senses the goose bumps from a breeze, quietly trailing behind the guide to an unknown destination. The photographer seems to revere and evoke the essence of her captured subjects. As the viewer experiences the captured moment of the model in their element or sifts through a collection of keepsakes, one can almost hear the private silence that drifts in like pollen on a breeze, suspended between the subject and camera. The Lindsey’s soft lighting and style, rich in nuances tint the lens through which the viewer sees the world.