With autobiographical oil paintings, informational graphics, a wall-sized photomontage and sculptures resembling inside-out cameras, the annual spring exhibition of graduate student art at the Henry Art Gallery offers a lot for the visitor — as it does every year.
The exhibition, running through June 22, is the final project for University of Washington students graduating from the School of Art’s master of fine arts and master of design programs.
It is the last showing for most of these student artists before they take the next step in life. Most will continue with their art; some will teach. Many of the artists and designers were on hand to discuss their work during a May 21 press preview.
Student artist Kathryn D’Elia said her interest in film led to the creation of her photomontage “The Trouble with Tropes.” She said she noticed that people are often falling or in danger of falling in films, so she and friends gathered images from such scenes for the work.
“I want the viewer to consider, why is this so common? Why are we attracted to this kind of scene? And then also, is there someone up there who will pull you up? Or is there someone above you who’s going to step on your hands and make you fall?”
Regarding her elaborate floor-filling installation of spices, charcoal, cedar bark, lichen cherry blossoms, lichen and more titled “Gegenschein,” Rebecca Chernow said the work is a sort of representation of the Internet. She said the basic theme of the piece centers on “materials that initially spurred world trade and globalization — the movement of people and ideas around the globe.” The design was created by about 20 friends, she said, making patterns as they pleased, “like a quilting bee.”
In one gallery area, Jason Petz of the design program discussed his design posters, titled “Food System Visualization.” Other design projects included a look at the design practices of computer tablet magazines by Bradley Trinnaman.
Subjects no longer living were depicted in oils with anatomic precision by Jonathan Happ. Around a corner, artist Abraham Murly was virtually surrounded by his paintings, large and small, which he said were “pretty autobiographical — drawing on experiences and memories, kind of like a journal that I keep through drawing.”
A gentle clicking greeted visitors to the shadowed area of John Blalock’s vaguely Rube Goldberg-like “Three Kinetic Sculptures.”
“I’m a photographer who’s more interested in the camera than the photo,” said Blalock as a visible gear click-clacked away on one of the pieces. So, were they cameras? Perhaps. “They are kind of like cameras that evolved on their own,” he said.
Each year the exhibiting artists work with Jim Rittimann, the Henry’s head preparatory and exhibition designer, to stage their presentation.
“The show looks good because there’s good art,” Rittimann said. “That always makes my job easier.”