When visiting the Henry Art Gallery’s 2012 Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design Thesis Exhibition, your inner 10-year-old might quickly be drawn to Adam Lee Matthew’s commanding, faux-rusty piece, “Lystronuxopsus & Diceragnathus.”
It’s OK — alien dinosaur bones are popular that way.
Actually, “they’re fossil skeletons of extraterrestrial creatures that remotely resemble Earth creatures,” Matthew said at the exhibit’s May 25 preview. After all, he added, as we explore other worlds, our first encounter with other life forms may well be found “in the fossil record on another planet.”
Art mixes with innovation in this annual exhibit now reflecting both the master of fine art and master of design degrees.
Across the room, three wall-sized panels of oils by Shaun Roberts depict versions of the artist himself: a magician, a musician, a gun-wielding menace. “They’re different characters, I’m disguising myself,” the artist said in a Texas-Louisiana drawl. “When I was growing up, my family were traveling entertainers. One night I might be a juggler and the next I’d mask myself with costume and makeup, depending on what the occasion required.”
Not far away, Andrew Salituri said his interactive piece, “The Infinite Good,” is “essentially trying to visualize our inspiration — the stories that we share, experiences we have every day with people.” These can be logged onto social media sites and sorted by word, date or even color.
Lindsay Colburn works with essences, in her piece titled “Decentralized,” a pattern of grey squiggles hand-cut from gray architectural Mylar. She said the inspiration for the latter was an old building in Seattle’s Queen Anne area whose walls are “transformed” by decades of paint decay. “I was really kind of reconstructing the deconstructed wall,” she said.
Anthony Sonnenberg said his striking sculpture, “Sybaris,” uses found objects but coated with dark porcelain and glazed, juxtaposing the familiar and everyday with “this kind of a sense of uncertainty.” He said he’s not trying to steer the viewer to choose between the physical and the spiritual. “No finger-wagging. I’m more interested in exposing just how the mechanics of that whole visual conversation work.”
Byung Cho’s “Keeping the Posture” is a customized wheelchair with an articulated back frame, redesigned with the focus on diagnostic interaction with the user. Snehai Mantri’s “One World” is a smart phone application “that helps inexperienced travelers adapt to the complications of traveling in a foreign country.”
Rodrigo Valenzuela offers prints and a video titled “Diamond Box.” In his online artist’s statement he wrote, “My pieces are brief descriptions of the moment and action from which phenomena unfolds. I am interested in this transitional zone between stillness and motion; between the purely pictorial and the cinematic.”
Other artists showing work included Caitlin Berndt, Tamblyn Gawley, Hilary Gray, Hannah OGorman, Amy Keeling, Sergei Larionov, Dan Ostrowski, Andrew Salituri and Steve Sewell. Pieces in the exhibition are selected with curatorial assistance by Jim Rittimann, head preparator and exhibition designer.
From alien fossils to new social networking programs and beyond, there is much to ponder here. The 2012 Master of Fine Arts and Master of Design Thesis Exhibition, will be on display in the Henry’s North Galleries through June 17.