SPENCER H. BIBLE, Arts&Entertainment Editor
There were thirty odd people gathered in a circle, with a fence separating them from a fallen piece of chain link, a gymnastics mat, and a 120 pound girl choking out a 200 pound man. The crowd was cheering loudly, some over enthusiastically giving pointers, others laughing, most just enjoying the spectacle. I was confused, mainly because people breathing in each other’s faces makes me uncomfortable, but I was uncomfortable with the whole thing, which could very well have been the point.
Last Friday marked the opening of the 2012 senior show “Fourteen” in which graduating art majors are given a section of the Wright Museum to display whatever they want. This year, supposedly the best attended in memory, boasted some fantastic installations in all types of media and concepts. I am in no way an art critic. I have little to nothing to boast about my knowledge of art history, but neither do a lot of people that go to the show, so here’s what I think.
Compared to the two other years I’ve attended, the quality of the work was by far the highest. I started out by moving through the room shared by Jerrica Zeric and Alex Pisarek, which set a high bar for the rest of the event. Zeric’s conceptual piece made an interesting statement by conflating the terms and conditions placed on cellphones that the consumer purchases, but does not own outright, and the way in which we should experience her art. In a series of what could, but should not be called shelves, Zeric makes this statement, one simply saying “Intentionally left blank due to artistic creativity.” Pisarek’s showing was a series of startlingly visceral depictions of the human body, but sculpted brilliantly out of wood. Creating pimples, hairy nipples, and shower drains full of body hair out of wood made them seem eloquent.
Although he works for the Round Table, it needs to be said that Eric Magnuson’s collection was ingenious in its playful authenticity. His collection of obscure and in some cases useless hand tools was constructed from found and fabricated parts, and looked like something you could find in a lost workshop in Montana. Sharing that space is Neil Conway’s (in my mind) trademark illustrations that are simultaneously playful in their style, but weighty in the technique and style. My personal favorite (and the only piece I honestly considered buying) was a hunter in a large field with his gun trained into the sky, aimed at a shark swimming above him.
A series of photographs taken by Randi Rosing-Schow was subtle yet incredibly touching. Centering on the negative space left by her grandmother moving into a nursing home and away from her grandfather, each photo carries emotional weight, yet remains tender and forlorn.
Yetunde Olagbaju’s piece “Walls” was a reserved performance, in which the artist, dressed and veiled in black, walked through a room with a series of red curtains, while an audio track played personal journal passages written by numerous people, collected by the artist and recorded in her voice. It was haunting, with an absence of physical sensation and an overwhelming presence of things still left unsaid.
These are the exhibits that stood out to me, either because I knew the artist personally, or because my eye was caught by a concept or something beautiful. But, there are fourteen artists and each of the displays is entirely unique. Go for yourself. See what stands out.