Saturday, May 3, 2008

UCD BFA Thesis Show

Currently, at Emmanuel Gallery (located on Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado), the University of Colorado Denver is housing its graduating BFA students' thesis show. Painters, sculptors, photographers and digital designers showcase the work they've been creating for the past year as they get geared up to head out into the world or off to grad school. Organized by professor and guest curator, Mary Connelly, it promises to be one of the more cohesive and exciting BFA shows.

This show embodies the contemporary spirit more so than any other BFA show that I've attended in my three years on campus. Considering the fact that Denver is rather isolated from the world of up-and-coming modern art, the student work in this show is on a higher level and some of these artists have the potential to become internationally known.

Recalling to mind Delaroche's statement that, "Painting is dead," upon the invention of photography, I tend to agree with him. Thus, when a BFA show is just flat canvas after flat canvas nailed to the wall, I get very bored very quickly. This show, however, contains a broad-ranging representation of art history with the inclusion of most genre of media: wood working, painting, photography, digital animation, film, and sculpting. Also, using more than just their sense of sight, the public is encouraged to interact and get personal with at least two pieces in this show.

Among the most exciting artists showing, sculptor and photographer, Timothy Flood's work On the Evolution of Spirit, Self and Dimension, showcases eight hand-crafted optical boxes, which are to be interacted with by the audience. Displayed in the middle of the gallery with a decidedly Eastern Asian flavor, one may be mislead as to the content of his work (thinking it somehow Asian). However, while there is no immediately recognizable Asian influence, his presentation works well to enhance the work. As you peer into Flood's flawlessly hand-crafted boxes, which should be aimed toward the soft light provided by two nearby lamps, his figurative photographic images appear three-dimensional and equally soft with a calming, nostalgic quality. Thus, his rather Asian presentation only increases the viewer's Zen as they gaze into his boxes. Flood's work is, by far, one of the most well-crafted and more traditionally beautiful pieces in the gallery.

The second artist I'd like to highlight is photographer, John Lopez. Lopez is an artist who uses an unorthodox, yet, ingenious method of display to showcase two images from his set entitled Elementary. Using two PlayStation consoles (complete with wireless controllers--oh, what will they come up with next?) that are hooked up to two 46 inch flat screen Toshiba televisions, Lopez displays his images digitally on the LCD screen. Lopez's work is directly political and socially critical of the American society in which he was born and raised. Commenting on a country desensitized and apathetic to violence, Lopez's images are at once shocking, frightful and engaging. Like Flood, Lopez encourages his viewer get personal with his work by using the wireless controllers to navigate and scan his images allowing his audience to zoom in on details of facial expressions, gun make and model and droplets of blood.

Although there are many talented artists in this show, the last I'd like to bring to your attention (to whet your artistic appetite) is photographer Michele Wysocki. Wysocki, who is soon moving to San Fransisco to attend SFAI (Congratulations!), has created 9 images in her set Scientificity. Her photography reflects the pervasive gender problem within the world of science, commonly regarded as a "man's territory". Utilizing an unusual circular format for her images, Wysocki calls to mind the Petri dish and photographs items which reflect a decidedly feminine way of life. With titles like "Lungs" cleverly attached to a pair of heel support shoe inserts, her black and white photography propels itself to the forefront of modernity as she aligns her work with contemporary issues breathing new life into a decidedly antiquated photographic media.

UCD's BFA Thesis show promises to be exciting and artistically fashionable. If you're in the Denver area and can make it out to this show, I recommend it. And take names, because you'll definitely be seeing some of them again.

*Emmanuel Gallery is located on Auraria Campus. The gallery hours for this show are Monday, 5 May through Thursday, 8 May from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 May from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The reception for this show (which is free and open to the public) will be held on Thursday, 8 May from 4-7 p.m.
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