Third Year MFA Show
Art Lofts, UW – Madison
September 12-19, 2014
As a student at UW-Madison, I make a point each year, to check out the Art Department’s graduate student art show. They (student organized, program facilitated) put together a group exhibition for each class; first, second, and third year MFA candidates. This particular show at the Art Lofts Gallery is, in my opinion, lacking the ‘oomph’ that previous third year shows have displayed. Not unlike previous years, the exhibition overall is a cohesive survey of different skill levels, methods and materials that the Art Department is capable of. However, this show seems to lack the forward-thinking “vision” of art that would stimulate and rise above the over-saturated art world. These students are facing graduation, and with the career path looming I can’t help but wonder if academia is overpowering the motive of the artist. Beyond any disagreement to the general success of this group exhibition, I shall declare that all pieces highlighted in this blog post are works that hold substance as stand-out and exceptionally nice peices.
Michael Brooks Arnsteen shows up with an impressive painting. Stylistically similar to his lithographs, the architecture of texture feels familiar, yet the canvas substrate generates a free and expressive movement not necissarily found in his prints. The use of white is not only fresh but mysterious.
This piece by J. Myszka Lewis holds a quality of ehemeral beauty while retaining an aura of clinical order. Where process seems to be the mainculprit behind this very ordered peice, it’s elegance of tissue thin layered paper creates a peice that comes alive when the gentle breeze of passing-by brings life to the installation.
Always an excursion from the expected, Aiosa has the sensibility to subvert the simplest of forms by creating awareness of relationship of viewer and object. The tension that is experienced in this sculpture, “Untitled,” is like a poke at the viewer to accept what one cannot change. A typical gallery setting that includes the unwritten rule “Please Do Not Touch” is ever-present in ones mind upon encountering this structure. Desperately wanting to re-align the two pieces, is not an option. A self-awareness instills. The inate human drive to ‘fix’ things. The broken beam becomes a subtlety where physical and pysiological dis-jointment occur.
The idea of graduate school aesthetic, where a higher level of conceptual art consists, and a more meaningful explanation is required; higher level of conceptual thought, validates the work in this exhibition, and where this Third Year Review Show holds much potential, some have fallen flat, and others I am excited to anticipate where these artist will progress to in the future.