Thursday, December 29, 2011

Eight UT Seniors @ Scarfone/Hartley Gallery

UT's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery

The University of Tampa has a show consisting of the work of eight of its senior students in various disciplines within the art department, from commercial design to fine art. The variety of work in the show makes it quite interesting, and draws out the differences between the types of work.

In the picture at left, that's artist Lisa Harasiuk, who's been reviewed here before, in the center.[Link], [Link]

Cliff Klein, "Tribal Resistance on the Flip Side"

Cliff Klein wants to remove the cultural accretions that determine what and how we see, and return to the Natural, Paradaisical state of early childhood, before the filters blinkered us. He also rails against the academic depictions of space, as we see in the picture at left. It walks away from the usual illusions of perspective and cultural convention.

Amanda Pulham, "By a Thread"

Amanda Pulham's "By a Thread" is of two young models arranging a human skeleton hanging by a thread. The ephemerality of life comes to mind in this memento mori. The youth and healthy looks of the models contrast heavily with the skeleton. If you look closely, the female model's left foot has a sock or some kind of covering on it. This same model and covered foot appear in another painting in the show.

I am seeing more and better paper sculptures around these days, and Danielle Champagne's "Mapping" is a great example. She says her use of book pages as material stems from the sensory joys of working with it as well as the linear patterns, innate narratives/relationships/communications between people and more. "Mapping" is an object of a complex and extraordinary beauty.

On the right is William Stryffeler's mixed media work "Something Blue - House Clown". In this series which the artist calls "House Clowns", Stryffeler's addressing commercialized self-image and those (apparently mostly women) who are adrift in the tides of fashion and ideals that cannot possibly be met, thus insuring failure and a continued dependence on product.The figures come across as isolated and alien, and not easy to empathize with.

Olivia Harsham had an installation symbolic of the wall that divides Israel from Palestine, complete with graffiti, and images of the people on the other side, on both sides. This is a well-publicized, emotionally charged issue personalized in this work in a creative manner.

Thuy Pham is a Graphic Design student who is specializing in magazine layout, packaging and more. She, like all the students in this show, had several interesting and competent works shown in a variety of media. On the left is a visually striking calendar.

Kaylin Hovance is a Graphic Design student whose work is primarily competent design, but the quartet of portraits on the right titled "Freeze Frame" are of her friends engaged in exaggerated poses and blazing colors caught my eye. I chatted with Ms. Hovance for a bit. She's very clear and open about her work.

Jackie Mroczka Britton is another Graphic Design student focused on commercial design. In her works "Call to Action I & II" the posters are effective against bullying.

Having been exposed on several occasions to Lisa Harasiuk's work, it was a pleasure meeting her at this show. There's a palpable emotional tension to her work that connects witht the viewer at a visceral level.

The installation shown above by Lisa Harasiuk is titled "The Game of Taking Everything You Can", a mixed media piece made of acrylic, tempera, paint pen, gel transfers on paper, on canvas, wood and red clay. It is a life-sized gaming table and chairs,  but the game, though reminiscent of Monopoly at first glance, is deadly serious and about life.

It is an acrid, bitter game about being caught between a rock and a hard place, a situation where there's only two options, to stay or leave, and the latter may be the only way to cut one's losses and save face. This work gives substance to a situation a huge number of people in the US find themselves in.

And it is one of two tables around the same theme.  

Both of these works are potent, nothing held back pieces that are gripping in their content. To anyone who has been tangled-up in a fault-type divorce gone nasty, this is familiar ground. To others, it is a warning. As works of art, they're vibrant and rich with human energies.

Lisa takes this energy into her paintings and drawings, too. On the right is "Lost, Refusing  to See What You Are Doing to Those Around You". With these works one sees how the personal can transcend itself and enter the universal realm.

Congratulations to the eight seniors who exibited their work, to Dorothy Cowden and the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery and to the University of Tampa for a good show. 310 N. Bloulevard, Tampa.

--- Luis

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Luis for such a nice review. It was great to finally meet you at the show. I hope we run into each other again soon.