This year’s SCAD deFINE Art student showcase at Alexander Hall was an impressive display of what the soon-to-graduate artists could do with their newfound skills.
The exhibit included photography, pottery, illustrations, paintings, graphic design, and even lithography by students going for their Bachelor’s or Master’s of Fine Art.
The most interesting facet of this show was its slightly interactive nature. The work was displayed throughout Alexander Hall, a SCAD building. Classrooms were open during the beginning hours of the exhibit, and students could be seen inside the rooms working. It was a simple, raw look at the process of creating art and putting it in a show.
The ceramic pieces in general looked very sellable and like they already belonged in a home, particularly a wine bottle wall sculpture and Sarah Wilson’s pop art “Pow!” mugs.
Andrew Maynard’s “Minotaur” is fun and well-crafted, and the way the minotaur’s horns aren’t identical is a detail that makes the piece even more realistic. Tanner Hartman’s “Wanting Out I,” a raku piece shaped like a vase, has a desperate feel to it as hands pull upward and an agonized face cries out from the vase’s body. The way the arms literally break out of the vase creates a mood of desperation.
One pottery piece particularly stuck out: Jinny Choi’s untitled statue of a girl sitting crosslegged and resting her head in her chin. The statue looks like a young curious backpacker, and the innocence of the girl’s expression comes across quite well, from her posture to the look in her eyes.
The photographers explored a range of themes and ideas, and those who used models chose fitting ones to execute their mood. Lauren Maclean’s “A Cold Haunting” has a girl sitting naked in the bathtub, covering herself with her hands and with her dark black hair. The model is reminiscent of the girl from The Ring, but doesn’t look enough like her that it’s a duplicate. The similarity is enough to evoke a creepy mood, and the lighting, which looks like it’s coming from an open door in the dark bathroom, also lends to that feeling.
In another piece, “Colorful Irony II,” Maclean uses a model dressed in a red gingham top and cutoff shorts in front of bright, 1960s-era hotel doors. The girl’s posture is sassy and a touch defiant, and that body language combined with all the colors makes for a great vintage photo that isn’t black and white.
While all the photographs were visually interesting, one of the strongest ones was Meagan Connolly’s “Robert and a Shrimp Tail.” The photo is essentially just that: Robert’s hand, clutching onto a ledge, and a shrimp tail lying nearby. We can guess that the setting is on a dock, since it looks like Robert is in the water and there’s a rope leading into the water, but that’s all we have to go on. The photo is mysterious in its simplicity. Is Robert a shrimper who fell off his boat and is trying to get back on? What’s he holding onto? In a sea of easily-identifiable themes and lots of colors, this photograph is captivating for its soft contrast and its mystery.
While the majority of the works seemed to be photography and pottery, the other media were represented well. The lithography was nice to see; Elizabeth Jean Younce has obviously mastered the art and presented a series of well-done pieces, all with a nature theme. Jeremy Tan’s “Dr. Robin’s Frankenpooh,” an illustration of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh reimagined as the Frankenstein characters, looked like a page straight from a Disney coloring book. And Kristian Stojek’s “Pink Pearl” piece was simplistic and high in contrast – a pink eraser on a blue background with the caption “Shit Happens” – making for a cute, kitschy print.
All in all, the pieces showed that the artists can work with a variety of themes, techniques, and media to create masterfully-done art.