One artist's journey

Friday, December 10, 2010

"You Are Here/I am"

 "You Are Here/I Am" First Year MFA show at first glance seemed quite interesting. The image of an interesting and exciting animal head spewing out a bloody substance like a fountain lingered with me in the few days before I really took a deeper look. However, as I went further and further into the gallery more questions than answers came to mind, more misunderstandings and confusions crept up from a place in my mind where things seemed without complete purpose. I was unsure of the artists' ideas, challenges, mindset, and yet I was also met with a certain understanding of contemporary art surrounded by the environment of Mason Gross. Most of the works spoke to me in a free-unabashed  way, but what left me unsatisfied was a type of disconnection. I felt as though many of the works did not fully address the observer or the gallery setting, and some did not seem completely resolved.

 A.P. Vague's work called "Closer to God" struck me in several ways. First the title turned me somewhat away from the work, though I am not sure why; maybe it was that I felt I would find someone in the midst of an extreme spiritual rebirth or journey, but as I moved in closer to the work, and began to examine further the details of the piece I found myself quite involved. I wanted to know more, to understand each word, written or typed on the pages surrounding me. I felt as if on a journey myself, learning and taking note of each clue I received into the artist or subject's world.
The work seemed quite personal and let me deeper into a place I had not known before, this intrigued me. The composition of the work also allowed me to feel as if I was on a sort of diary treasure hunt, or as if someone like Anne Frank's diary was on show and it was my time to really find out what happened. Mixing what looked like older papers with images, pieces coming off the pages of the book, overlapping and wiping out details of text, with two video screens seemingly strategically placed, I felt as though history was meeting the present. In a space of the subconscious or surreal reality of vacant images, I was reminded of the video artist Bill Viola, and his video, "The Passing". In most of his films he is searching for identity, tying into my reactions to the MFA piece. The only aspect of this piece that left me wanting was I felt there was no conclusion, no way truly into the piece and no way fully out, no feeling of resolve. I found myself going back to the piece over and over and searching for more, but each time not really getting what I wanted from it, not really gaining any truth, any information, any meaning, but only seeing again what I had seen before, wondering whether I would ever really understand.

 Chris Camperchoioli's three paintings on the wall caught my eye immediately as I walked into the first room of the gallery. I felt quite drawn to the works, as though I was being sucked into a completely new dimension. These works seemed to be suggesting something coming in and out of existence. As I look deeper, I felt as if I was grasping something tangible just for a second, and then

the next minute it was lost. Use of materials appealed to me, and I found the difference in shape, color, mark all came together in united, yet unexpected ways. The worlds created by these paintings appear suspended in a deep void, though concrete in their existence and power. The only aspect that through me off as a viewer was the two blues of the last painting. I felt as though the colors could have been pushed further and that they did not seem to communicate the same feeling, purpose as the other color choices.


 Rita DeAngelo's two works seemed to completely contradict each other. I thought the big painting worked tremendously well and communicated a new and awkwardly rewarding space. However, the smaller work to the left gave me nothing except a certain distaste for the quality of the work. The smaller work entitled, "5.22.2004-5.24.2004", lacked purpose, lacked focus, and conveyed a lack of depth. As soon as I looked at the smaller piece I immediately wanted to see less of it, felt as though it took on little presence compared to the other works in gallery. The size felt arbitrary and the pieces of caulk and plexiglas seemed slapped together with little thought.
The large piece spoke to me much more through the color, application, line, form, and composition. The scale, mark, contrasting marks create a layered affect that illuminated a new space involving a figure/ground relationship. The large pink shape seems to be covering something up, forcing the viewer to be confronted with the engulfing space. The outer border becomes a sort of frame, however, the pink extends to the edge of the canvas, breaking the boundaries and allowing a passage in and out of the painting.



In entirety the first year MFA show examined many contemporary aspects, but they were not all together clear. Many works did speak to a certain exploration into the medium with which the artist was using which I found to be quite interesting and exciting. Although a further development of ideas and use of materials, composition, and presentation present themselves to me as beneficial.