Community Arts, Hoffberger School of Painting, Mount Royal School of Art, Photographic and Electronic Media, and Rinehart School of Sculpture by Amy Boone- McCreesh
The Community Arts thesis shows are all located in the Decker Gallery in the Fox Building at MICA. This group features community-sourced artworks organized by Emily Chow Bluck, Allison Duggan, Claire Fredrick, Hsiang-ju (Amber) Hsieh, Heather Kasdan, and Alanna Purdy.
All Community Arts candidates reinforced the importance of relationships between one another and the impact they can have one one’s personal life as well as the lives of others. Amber Hsieh organized a community art project titled The Life Storytellers. For the project, participants who are 50 years or older use book arts as a way to reflect on their lives in a visual way. Using collage and drawing, the books created are humble and intimate capsules into lives of people who might not otherwise pass down visual evidence not only of events and milestones, but also how they feel about their own personal history.
Alana Purdy, also Community Arts, presents the series Race and Where We Live. Purdy’s visual research is timely but also timeless considering Baltimore’s history and current events. The work includes found objects, first hand interviews, outside opinions, and a literal table for discussion that encourages open dialogue on a subject sensitive to all, Baltimore and beyond.
The Mount Royal School of Art thesis candidates are spread across the MICA campus and include works by Seon Young Park. Eunjung Park, Art Morill, Cola Lola Marie Anderson, Tae Yeon Kim, Phaan Howng, Rachel Guardiola, L.E. Doughtie, OluShola Cole, Rachel Borgman, Estee Bershof, and Amanda Agricola. Galleries for viewing include Fox 3, Riggs, 101 North Ave, and Lediy.
As expected, the Mount Royal group is diverse in materials, content, and aesthetic. Most embraced the program’s multi-disciplinary intention and experiment with media to find the best match for a message. A heavy studio practice is also evident in much of the work, as it feels temporal and open-ended.
L.E. Doughtie presents a cohesive body of work in mostly black, white, and grey. Landscapes are built by bouncing back and forth between two and three-dimensional depictions of solid and liquid organic material. Together Doughtie’s pieces create a wonderfully alien world, scattered with visual wreckage that has an emphasis on formal organization. Doughtie was also recently named a 2015 Sondheim Semi-finalist. Check out more work at MICA this summer July 16- August 2.
The LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting MFA candidates can all be found in the North Avenue Market. Works can be seen by Stephen Clark, Thomas Dahlberg, Michael Evans, Erin High, Lauren Jefferson, Minson Kim, and Jin- le Park.
Stephen Clark offers a wall full of abstract paintings, varying in size and style. The piece Highway Hypnosis appears as a silvery landscape that does not easily reveal its process. In this work, fabric paint and enamel sit on canvas in a way that reads as metal from a distance. The strength in much of Clark’s work is the ability to defy immediate recognition of materials, which includes gesso transfers as well as more traditional painting techniques.
Thomas Dahlberg’s paintings, while also abstract, offer more insight into the act of looking and remembering an object or a place. The paintings are visual mash-ups of memories and observations, all seeming to depict multiple views at once. Skewed perspective and hyper zoom all play with our physical relationship to space and how it is depicted on a flat surface.
Women dominated the Rinehart School of Sculpture this graduating year. MFA candidates include Magali Hebert-Huot, Teal Peterson, Yirang Song, CiCi Wu, and Amy Yee. The works are scattered between Leidy, Meyerhoff, and Fox 3 galleries.
Magali Hebert Huot examines her Canadian history and fuses it with architectural tropes. Humorous and well-made pieces stack and flop over one another. A useless neon green axe and a pink partial log cabin are amongst her sculptural explorations. Huot also has work in the lobby of the Main building that acts as a visual intervention between the grand architecture in Main and the economic details Hebert provides. Brightly colored molded replicas poke fun at the grand attempt of recreating architectural details for cosmetic purposes.
The Photographic and Electronic Media works by Tianhong Chen, Leah Miriam Cooper, Sara Hill, Christophe Katrib, Nicholena Moon, Neil Nguyen, Shannon Patrick, Zihui Song, Jeremy Wescott, Yihan Yang, and Mianzhang Zhao are also spread across campus. Galleries include Pinkard, Meyerhoff, Riggs, Fox 3 and 101 W. North Avenue.
Many of the works are strictly photographic but a few, like Yihan Yang’s are interactive. Yang has set up a projector that kinetically captures the body’s motion in a visual way. Viewers are encouraged to stand on a floor mark and attempt the Tai Chi moves provided. The kinetic software visually records the body’s motion using a series of circles. The circles layer and overlap to create scientific still images. These images are also hung in the space and are examples of the Tai Chi poses in their visual manifestation. Yang cites using Tai Chi as a catalyst for viewers to find their own inner balance.
Tianhong Chen also employs Electronic media, but as a way to examine time as it is portrayed in Chinese Still Life Painting. A monitor, hung vertically to mimic a painting, displays objects that subtly start to decay. The time lapse video shows pruning fruit and wilting flowers, slowing dying. The medium provides a contemporary look at deeply historic Chinese themes.
All exhibitions are on view until May 3. For more information on any of the artists listed above check out micagradshow.com.
Amy Boone-McCreesh is a Baltimore-based artist and professor.