The Columbia University School of the Arts 2009 MFA Thesis Exhibition is being held at the Fisher Landau Center for Art. Not only is the exhibition spread out on three floors of the Center, but the work is displayed in high end formats, including expensive screens, and all the work is framed. There are no wall didactics, yet a map and limited run of a compilation of the students' notes were available. The following three artists' work spoke to me personally.
Christian de Vietri's work is very much about light and the play of accessibility. I found his work complete like a circuit, yet open for interpretation. His red neon looking like draped string is installed in the stairwells. His three sculptures in the middle of the third floor are conceptually and aesthetically tight. A purple man lies on the floor and on close inspection one can see vampire teeth. What is hidden is that at night the work glows from the light it receives in the day due to Strontium Illuminite. A sculpture of a veiled woman figure with forget-me-nots is a display of accessibility. The small silver camp fire was created with a process which relates to fire burning.
Natalie Beall uses many materials to create beautifully designed, tactile installations. In her work on view she sensitively uses velvet, chenille rope, mylar coated paper, bells, and other materials with minimal color, highlighting the gentle properties of the material. With a sensual ease, the work was fitted in the space like a couture gown, with pattern and cut outs creating space for breathing and shadow play. It is interesting to note Beall entered the program as a 2D student.
Erik Wyoscan has many multi-media works with historical references, a Victorian imagination, with some steam punk aesthetic thrown in for good measure. His main theme is time. His assemblage and juxtaposed sculpture have many meanings – they are placed in vitrines yet almost appear as if they were found on a spaceship -- the works have been pulled a vast distance from popular culture. His genius is in the details which include altering printed didactics with hand written information. His “The Dream of Reason, The Sleep of Reason, El Sueño de La Razon” wall works approach Goya and speak of the violence objects can remind us of.
Images: Erik Wysocan, The Dream of Reason, The Sleep of Reason, El Sueño de La Razon (2009); Natalie Beall, Round the Corner Waiting, 2009. Courtesy the artists.