by Cheryl Meeker
Although tired of the focus on recent art school grads by an art market looking to get in early on the uptrend in commodities, it is nice to take a moment to appreciate work by young minds not yet beaten into submission by the system. CCA’s MFA show opened last night with some good work, and here are my subjective highlights, in no particular order:
Jennifer Durban Three fresh posters with the caption, I Met My Dad on Friendster, had some interesting drawings on them and were accompanied by an acrylic listening umbrella emitting a poignant audio piece that was evidently an awkward conversation between Jennifer and her mother discussing the title event.
Celia Manley This is a Work of Fiction: This is the title of Manley’s text drawing on the wall of that ubiquitous statement in books or film about the work not depicting anyone real… And some small text drawings in pencil, including one that says, “People never notice anything,” which I found to the point and took personally. Also one that called out a word that is phony, one that my father-in-law always uses, but which I can’t remember.
Ryan Alexiev is a design grad showing a powerful video. I only saw about 5 minutes of the 90 minute duration, but in that time saw a bearded white man dressed in “ethnic” clothes with colored breakfast cereal being shot at high velocity from the lens of a video camera into his mouth, after which he got into some video game quality violence including wrestling throws and sci-fi lasers with a black man wearing a purple suit from the cover of a kids’ breakfast cereal, and then he posed in a shoot for the label of some bottled health food product. Here is a clip from the video.
Renee Gertler’s inconspicuous brown paper lunch bag with tiny pencil drawings of star constellations on it has been pricked by a pin creating a mini planetarium when you look inside it’s black painted interior. Her huge tornado created from small sticks looms overhead reminding us of the paradoxical power and fragility of shifting climates.
Christine Wong Yap’s pieces form 3 dimensional ribbons without the packages that update constructivist sculpture, while defining space lightly and humorously. Her mirror with a star twinkles with a sharp light, capturing your image as you approach. I liked what Kevin Killian wrote about her work.
There was something mesmerizing about Reggie Stump’s video, and something embarrassing in a way, something that I am hoping might be a comment on how much truth or how many lies we can swallow. This clip and this one helped me to see what he may be getting at.
Erik Scollon makes ceramic pieces of many suggestive forms, and hidden towards the back of the exhibition are some wonderful Greek urns in his characteristic white porcelain, painted with blue imagery with a gay aura. These contained red wine and featured an installation with an aproned bar tender. His classmate Christine Wong Yap wrote a good piece about his work.
Bessma Khalaf’s video in which she paints a dead Christmas tree green warmed my heart, and is further contextualized by her earlier video, This Land is My Land, where she eats a whole shelf full of dessert shaped like a mountain range. Mary Ann Kluth wrote about the latter piece on Stretcher.
Shawn Sloan’s painting on panel looked great. Not much painting in this show, and Shawn shows why it is hard to make great painting: it is hard to find the airspace. He finds a sliver of it and exploits it. I don’t think it’s color on the website does it justice.