With the pandemic seemingly in waning mode and for the first spring in three years, art and design students at Bristol Community College’s Fall River campus are exhibiting their work in the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery.
The students are approaching the end of the academic year and displaying work created for classes in the freshman foundation program or as part of their second year studies, on the path to receiving an associate’s degree in art. Many will likely go on to pursue a bachelor of fine arts (and beyond) at other institutions of higher learning.
It should be noted that the exhibition, described as a “capstone event of the academic year,” is an opportunity for students to participate in the professional practice of preparing works for display, navigating submission requirements and waiting to find out if their works have been accepted for inclusion. All these steps are a prerequisite learning experience on the path to becoming a professional visual artist.
With nearly 50 students included and 82 works on display, the exhibition is a peak into creative ventures and thought processes seen through the lens of the need to fulfill class assignments.
The displayed work covers a wide range of media including drawing / illustration, painting, two- and three-dimensional design, traditional and digital photography, electronic imaging, animation and typography.
Subject matter include interiors, the urban landscape, the nude, animals, still lifes, portraiture and characters from mythology, fantasy and pop culture.
Hayley Schramm displays a wonderfully painting of a plump and luscious lemon against a stark black background. Schramm does not reduce the fruit to a monochromatic shade of yellow but instead finds a terrific range of subtlety in yellow itself, transitioning from a radiant sunshine glow to warm amber hues to a greenish citric take.
George Bergman presents a four panel comic book-like illustration which is a mashup of elements from two different specific subgenres: John Kricfalusi’s “Ren and Stimpy (created for Nickelodeon) and a nameless and plodding zombie, inspired by “The Walking Dead.” Bergman ruptures the usual traditional layout of a comic book page by using triangular wedges and cocked rectangles as panels. And the use of translucent colors is inspired.
Erica Alantra’s four panel illustration of canvas bags — each with a verbal message on them — exudes something that might be described as a stereotypical New York attitude. Against a Pepto-Bistmol pink background, there is a maroon-leaning deep red bag, emblazoned with an updated version of Milton Glaser’s famed “I ❤ NY” slogan, in which the cordate form is now cracked.
Another of Alantra’s bags makes a simple and best-heeded suggestion to those men on the street that cross a line: “Catcalling is not cute.”
Sarah Cabral exhibits a rather Kafkaesque illustration for an imagined cover for The New Yorker. Rendered in black, white and subtle shades of gray, a large cockroach sits at a table and steam rises from a mug set before him. It is charming, comical and existentialist all at once.
Emily F. Day has a bound collection of photographs titled “Through the Lens.” While many of her images are intriguing and worthy of commentary, there is one that is particularly eye-catching. It is a photograph of the rooftop red and yellow neon sign atop the Biltmore Hotel on Dorrance Street in Providence (now under new ownership and properly called the Graduate Providence.)
The hotel is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and Day’s capture resonates with the imagined romance and luxury of a bygone era.
Other works of significant interest: Aaron Costa’s non-nonsense charcoal study of a plump female nude; Alysssa Gauthier’s clever and timely New Yorker cover illustration of a necktie-wearing rat at a gas pump; Kaylee Affonso’s photo self-portrait in which see seems amusingly overwhelmed by all going on around her; Jackson Kost’s reductive image of a fox at play; and Nelia Lopes’s pensive self-portrait, rendered with marker, paint and charcoal.
With nearly fifty exhibiting student artists, it is impossible to give each their due, but all should know that this critic was delighted and encouraged by the talent, range and drive by all the young artists involved.
Their futures look bright.
“Annual Juried Student Art & Design Exhibition (Selected Works from All Fine Art and Graphic Design Studio Courses),” juried by Rathary Mateus, is on display at the Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery, Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree Street, Fall River until May 21.