The Windham Artspace in downtown Willimantic was one crowded art space as a sizable bunch of spectators gathered to view the culminating work of nearly fifty graduating Bachelor of Fine Arts students from the University of Connecticut last night.
An impressive plethora of photography, painting, illustration, books, sculpture, installation, printwork, multimedia and communication designs met my eyes – not an inch of wall was left blank.
Viewing the 2015 showcase, works featured by Marissa Stanton (paintings left) DaMonique J McAllister (sculpture/ceramics, left) Brooke Elizabeth Foti, and Kelsey Caraone (photography right)
While each piece and coordinating statement by the artist had its own specific themes, intentions, inspiration and effect on the audience, as I viewed them some patterns began to emerge. Many of the pieces dealt on some level with memory and nostalgia, the intersection of past and present, and identity and perception of the self, and world around. These reoccurrences make sense considering the point in their lives and careers these young, talented artists are at. It was amazing to see the breadth of creativity, skill and innovation they have as individuals, while maintaining a cohesiveness as a group exhibition.
Some work, like the installation artist Mika Caldera (center) was interactive, inviting viewers to write a statement about themselves and add it to the piece, as well as choose a sticker closest to their skin tone and place it on the labeled block they best identified with. (read more on her work on our blog!) Ashley Frato’s mixed-media sculpture (bottom) explored immigration, family and oral history, specifically her family’s narrative of the Cuban Revolution, through the visualization of “the border” and its interaction with historical family belongings in a large wooden box. Kaitlin Rae Acuna’s photography series, Living Room Alchemy, one of my personal favorites, whimsically played on the idea of fleeting moments (top) and fantasy, as she used Photoshop to bring mundane apartment scenes to life with clouds, levitating herself and other dream-like elements. (Check out more of her work.)
The tagline of the event was “Be there or be square!” And there was certainly nothing square about it – these are individuals who certainly think outside the box (even if they sometimes create within them), outside themselves, and aim to fill the space around them with art.
This is only a small highlight of what there was to be seen – to check out more of the other pieces, and the artists’ processes as they went, check out our editor’s interviews with the individual artists on the rest of our blog (more photography, more multimedia, more painting). The show will be up to view at Artspace until May 4th.
Even the artists’ business cards were mini works of art!
For more on UConn’s School of Fine Arts programs, visit their site here.