Student-curated mini-shows on exhibit September 29 through October 17

40 Artists. 3 Venues. 8 Exhibitions.

Undergraduate and graduate visual arts students are teaming up to conceptualize and install a collection of eight student exhibits at three locations across the New Brunswick campus: the Mason Gross Galleries, Rutgers Art Library, and Douglass Student Center. The co-cureate shows (the title is a mash-up of what the initiative has prompted teams to engage in: conceive, curate and create exhibits) are set to run from Thursday, September 29 through Monday, October 17, 2016. The shows will feature student performances, paintings, photographs, sculptures, media, and prints. Admission is free. The opening reception takes place 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, September 29, 2016, at the Mason Gross Galleries, with live performances by Sam Ashford (MFA) and Sarina Aquino (BFA).

Installing some of the exhibits outside the school’s traditional gallery space on Livingston Avenue was critical, says Mason Gross Galleries coordinator Daonne Huff, who regards this opening slate of shows as “an opportunity to push the students outside of their comfort zones, outside of the safety of our white cube” and into the wider Rutgers community.

“We’ve been a bit isolated,” Huff says. “We as a department bring the color, the texture, the creative imagination and pop to Rutgers—I think we should share that.”

Showing work in a student center and a library setting “encourages our students to see more of the campus and its resources,” Huff adds, “but it also brings our students’ art directly to new audiences. I’m really trying to create as many different bridges as possible.”

Undergraduate painting student ToniAnn Eisman (her acrylic-on-wood painting Copycat #1 is at left) says working alongside grad students, some of whom serve as teachers and mentors, “really shows a sense of unity in the art community here at Mason Gross. While the grads are further along in their studies, it’s really a humbling experience to be in the same place at the same time working towards the same goal.”

Ultimately, Huff views this initiative as a launch pad for professional life beyond Rutgers. Students’ soup-to-nuts involvement--they determine the shows’ concepts, select and install works, and have a hand in shaping promotion--provides artists with valuable “ ‘real-world’ experience,” she points out, because the artists aren’t merely responding to themes imposed by a selection committee or faculty members--they’re initiating and realizing those themes themselves.

“I really see it as an empowering experience,” Huff says.

Shows on Exhibit

Always Already?
Curated by Jack Hogan and Ali Osborn
We asked 8 artists to think about the future. You'll always already believe what happens next.
Featured artists: Julia Hickey, Jack Hogan, Renana Neuman, Beatrice Orlandi, Ali Osborn, Jett Strauss, Amiko Li, Bryan Volta

Mason Gross Galleries

Not for the Dead 
Curated by Julia Hickey and Shark Senesac
When prehistoric people spat pigment over their fingers, making hand-prints that survive to this day, the repetition of those silhouettes across stone was a powerful assertion: “I am here. I am real.” It also can be evidence of doubt and a question: “Am I real?” The works included assert or undermine belief structures through acts of ritualized repetition; symbolic narrative; fetish; superstition; obsession or anxiety. As practitioners of idiosyncratic personal religions, these artists labor with belief and disbelief against a fractured present.
Featured artists: Sam Ashford, Ethan Green, Carlyn Perlow, Ashley Seong, Cameron Spratley, Bryan Volta, Jamie Williams
Curated by Sarina Aquino, Kelly Hain, Mirthalys Rivera
The exhibit aims to depict the omnipresent concept of life struggles, as well as the external or internal restraints in which people are oftentimes unable to be free from. Through exploring multiple facets within ourselves and within our experience through the world, we are understanding and coming to a conclusion to our struggles in life; whether they be mental, emotional, physical, sexual, racial, or many other internal/external conflicts. Through this exploration through making our art we are achieving closure and understanding.
Featured artists: Sarina Aquino, Veronica Hahr, Kelly Hain, Mirthalys Rivera, Sabrina Rosario
Curated by Joshua Araujo and Ben Weathers
To wonder is to grasp at the unknown, the mysterious,the texture that buzzes underneath the rhythms of life. Making is the intrinsic act of wondering, and each of these artists touches something aesthetically curious, inventing their own grammar. Such investigations beg to be explored and evade easy understanding or quick looks.
Featured artists: Joshua Araujo, Yu Rim Chung, Ethan Green, Ali Osborn, Catalina Tuca, Ben Weathers
A Declaration of Interdependence
Curated by Ashley Rivera and James Thomson
The human is an arrogant creature. By placing itself outside the natural world, it claims dominion over it. We assert that culture is nature, because human is animal. We must understand our fallibility. We must accept the burden of power.
Featured artists: Ash Rivera, James Thomson
Still in a Current
Curated by Gregg Bautista and Kayla Donlin
Artists in this exhibition use their work to unabashedly confront subconscious habits that collectively lead to our desensitization towards imagery. Each artist works with some aspect of the figure, exploring existing images or ideas through the playful skewering of space and dimension, the contortions and grotesqueries of the human figure, or the super-saturation of processed layers through the lenses of painting, sculpture, and print. The reference to the figure in their work aims to create critical conversation, as much of today's culture and discussions revolve around a wide range of body identity politics and how we perceive our forms to exist in the contexts of their surrounding spaces.
Featured artists: Kayla Donlin, Audrey Meehan, Ash Rivera
In Search of Punchline 
Curated by Johanna Boyce, Audrey Meehan and Ed Weisgerber
This show isn’t interested in telling you why or what it is funny, rather it sets you up to find your own humor in the images. In a school as diverse as Rutgers, the amount of takes and interpretations can be as numbered as the amount of students that are enrolled. It is the show’s hope that this artwork will open up discourse and reflection between students, advancing a dialogue that may never have happened on subjects that may not have been reached without a comedic launch point.
Featured artists: Johanna Boyce, Erin Keane, Audrey Meehan, Carlyn Perlow, Delfina Picchio, Ed Weisgerber
Curated by ToniAnn Eisman and Dori Miller
The corner is a sort of half-box, part walls, part door. “The child has just discovered that she is herself, in an explosion toward the outside, which is a reaction, perhaps, to certain concentrations in a corner of her being.  For the recess in the boat is also a corner of being.” – Gaston Bachelard
What is “corner?”
Featured artists: ToniAnn Eisman, Sam Hewitt, Emily Karwowski, Dori Miller, Veronica Hahr

Douglass Student Center

Posted September 2016