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‘Rise Up’ displays studio art majors’ variety of talents

‘Rise Up’ displays studio art majors’ variety of talents

By Katharine Mound

Section: Arts, Featured

March 31, 2017

Junior studio art majors’ wide range of media, content and talent is now on display in Spingold’s Dreitzer Gallery. The “Rise Up Exhibition” opened Wednesday, May 29 and is on view until April 27.

Whether large or small, smooth or textured, acrylic or oil, the number of paintings prevail over all other media represented in the gallery space. Even so, the diversity in subject matter, pictorial representation and sheer size prevent the large repertoire of painted works from feeling stale or overwrought.

Samantha Shepherd’s “Cloth,” a generously sized still life, captures flowy, hanging fabrics in harsh, angular strokes of purple and yellow. Up-close, the fabrication of the painting’s sharp streaks of paint summon to mind anything but fabric, but a step back reveals the talent and artistry of Shepherd’s unconventional yet effective rendering of textures.

In a starkly different, highly-textured and unconventional style of painting, Zoila Coc-Chang depicts landscapes of the places that she has visited and lived. Using a palette knife and oil paint, Coc-Chang creates impressionistic scenes from nature that have a spiky, palpable surface to them, like “View From The Rose.” Echoing a similar style of the modern painter Marsden Hartley’s early works, Coc-Chang’s style of painting added a sort of kinetic, wispy energy and look to her works.

Rie Ota, who showcased five of her paintings in the exhibition, expressed that she likes to explore color and space in her works. Upon first glance, the vibrant, varied colors of Ota’s paintings engage the eye and produce a sort of liveliness. The longer you look at one of her works, though, like “The Girl in the Blue Dress,” which was her first painting in studio, the less excited the colors appear on the canvas. Ota described her paintings and unique manipulation of color as “very melancholic,” and that her richly colorful works portrayed a “world that’s a little bit sad.” Indeed, her paintings appear a bit gloomy not only through her coloration, but through her drooping, rounded and curvaceous rendering of form.

Some of the most formidable and varied works of the exhibition came from Tova Weinberger. Her paintings felt the most pronounced out of her explorations in different media. Two neighboring works, “On Set” and “Rush Hour,” display complex entanglements of clashing forms, contrasting colors and pronounced outlines. While certain shapes and associations can be distinguished in these two paintings, Weinberger’s layered, erratic, yet somehow controlled depictions can capture and sustain the attention of any observer.

Although the gallery is dominated by paintings, there are also notable pieces of sculpture that stood out. An instantly memorable sculpture in particular is Jeremy Qin’s “The Hanging Man,” a work of plaster and clay molded together to create a disfigured upper half of a human body. The mangled semi-body of the figure is flung over the side of a sleek, geometric and contrasting rectangular block; its left hand lies shattered under a knobby arm, and the hollowed out caverns of its eyes gaze lifelessly out beyond the observer. The speckled texture of the figure’s torso and arms is highly reminiscent of the humanoid sculptures of Germaine Richier.

Although seemingly hidden near one of the staircases into the gallery, Ceara Genovesi’s clay installation evoked the sense of a spiritual, mystical aesthetic while also being firmly grounded in the piece’s highly artisanal appearance. Braids, triskelions and other symbols with spiritual associations are arranged together in a composition on the floor of the gallery, almost blending into the cement space as if the work is indeed ingrained into the exhibit’s very foundation. The mystical clay emblems have a delicate, hand-crafted quality to them, which heightens the fascination of this physical interaction with the spiritual nature of the individual pieces of the installation.

With these previews in mind, be sure to visit Dreitzer Gallery while the works are on display through April 27.

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