The annual Brown Student Exhibition, now in its 35th year, opened Saturday at the David Winton Bell Gallery in List Art Building, featuring works from 44 Brown students, both VISA and non-VISA concentrators.
The juried exhibition, organized by Zachary Korol-Gold ’15 and Andrew Alexander ’15, held an open call for submissions earlier this month for student creative work in any medium. The 2015 exhibit was juried by Judith Tolnick Champa, an independent curator and critic, and Jerry Mischak, a senior painting critic at RISD. Pieces selected for the exhibit present the range of media and subject matter Brown students are exploring within the realm of the creative arts, including painting, drawing, book arts, sculpture, video, web, and performance.
Rory Macfarlane’s Cumulus welcomes visitors into the gallery. Inflated translucent trash bags form a looming, yet graceful cloud-like spheroid in the front corner of the exhibit. The piece is easily displaced by the movement of people through the gallery, gently rotating as one walks by it.
Other works explore unusual materials, like recycled industrial strapping (the kind you find on rock climbing harnesses) and yarn, such as in Sarah Schade’s I Deserve to Live and Julia Tatiyatrairong’s Under the Microscope. Schade’s sculpture hangs from the ceiling as a black mass of knotted web, almost like a hanging bird nest. Tatiyatrairong’s crocheted piece is an enlarged, tactile microscope field of view, with fuzzy and sharp globules in pastels and vibrant reds and oranges.
Some pieces make use of paper and text. Elodie Freymann’s How many have you broken for me? features delicately cut black paper with red and pink thread, with a thin text clipping, the title of the piece, at the top of the frame. Layla May Ehsan’s Relics integrates paper amongst found objects in a drawn accordion book. Catherine Miranda’s Home fuses many layers of paper into an expansive amalgamated portrait of a home. Like vignettes fading into each other, Miranda images different scenes of perhaps her home – a dog in a living room, the kitchen sink, the outside of the house, a bedroom – some skewed or attached upside down or sideways.
Pierie Korostoff’s Perhaps Even Ecstatic presents similar vignettes of one’s life, yet in the form of 10 laser-etched acrylic blocks – screenshots of apps, texts, and webpages viewed on a phone. One is etched with the NYTimes mobile site, others with a daily horoscope, Instagram comment, or text conversations with Isabella and Jordan. All are removed from context and solidified into something more lasting than messages or articles one normally skims through. The blocks are presented with a Scrabble-like rack, allowing viewers to place the screens in a new sequence. Touching and reading the texts and comments almost feels intrusive, like getting a glimpse into someone’s personal digital life.
Some works explore digital media, such as film and interactive web. Emily Reif’s animation, Meander, set to the jaunty RJD2 Ghostwriter, features a ink-drawn stick figure bounding down the sidewalk listening to music. Tristan Rodman’s Gradation is an interactive website that lets user manipulate and influence the site’s music, making the sounds grow and energize by hovering and clicking colored bars. Play around with it online here.
The exhibit’s many other works demonstrate student exploration in a variety of other media, from photography to collage to kinetic sculpture and performance. The student exhibition represents a sampling of the wide range of artistic investigations students undertake at Brown, amongst the 20-page essays and numerous not-mid-term midterm exams, showing that Brown students are as curious and inventive in the studio as they are in the classroom.
The 2015 Student Exhibition is on display in List through April 26th. The exhibit is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Image via and via Kenji Endo ’18.