Now You See Me: Best of the Northeast Masters of Fine Arts, 2015
Exhibiting artists:Yi Yi Lily Chan, School of Visual Arts, New York
Christy Chow, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston
Lu Heintz, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier
Bryan Hutchison, Pratt Institute, New York
Loretta Park, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston
Russell Prigodich, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Vincent Routhier, Concordia University, Montreal
Gabriel Sosa, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
In 2011, Helen Day Art Center (HDAC) pioneered the first exhibition surveying the work of artists pursuing master of fine arts degrees in the Northeastern regions of the United States and Canada. Two thousand fifteen marks HDAC’s third biennial MFA exhibition and will include the work of artists in programs as geographically distant as Montreal and New York. From a record number of submissions exceeding 140 and representing artists from 28 MFA programs, jurors Dina Deitsch, Director of Curatorial Projects at Goodman Taft; Rachel Moore, Assistant Director and Curator at HDAC; and Nathan Suter, Executive Director at HDAC selected eight artists.
Although collectively, the artists exhibiting work in Now You See Me have shown their work across the globe—from Hong Kong to Houston, Chicago to Cincinnati, Miami to Montreal, Brooklyn to Burbank, London to Zurich, and many places in between—as early career artists, they are “emerging.” Through this exhibition, they and the significant contemporary issues their work addresses will gain visibility at HDAC this summer and hopefully beyond.
Bryan Hutchison’s installation The Dream Mine invites viewers to consider their relationship to notions of the mystical and also excavates a lesser known historical event involving an attempt by LDS/Mormon Church members to amass material for use in a feared apocalypse and famine, a narrative that also points to the collective and often unspoken fears of catastrophic loss, change, uncertainty—anxieties that transcend LDS and that have become all too real for those still struggling through the devastation and lingering effects of a contemporary recession.
Similarly, Lu Heintz’s work brings to the surface hidden anxieties and emotional tension that almost seem at odds with the profound joy and love experienced through motherhood. With a nod toward second wave feminist reclamation and assertion of the body, the personal, and notions of “women’s work,” Heintz engages a multiplicity of strategies as she points to the emotionally and otherwise complicated experience of parenthood in the twenty-first century.
Gabriel Sosa’s painterly drawings are evocative reiterations of court documents and testimonies related to memories of his work as a court interpreter. The series Me Declaro draws upon the “Defendant’s Waiver of Constitutional Rights,” a document that an individual must sign before pleading guilty to a crime, while Letters of Support recreates character references composed on behalf of an anonymous defendant. Together they make visible elements of the judicial process that stand-in for defendants as well as the fragile memories on which these individuals depend.
Russell Prigodich’s work in steel and soap recalls objects of everyday use—a Styrofoam cup, paper envelopes, drawers, boxes, shelves. Like Sosa’s drawings, Prigodich’s sculptures hint at absent individuals and, through their juxtaposition of dark, cold, hard steel and pale, warm, malleable soap register a kind of tension, which adds an unseen yet almost palpable “fourth dimension” to these three-dimensional works.
Vincent Routhier’s monumental drawings are conceptual renderings of mathematical formulae and calculations registered in the complex of holes and creases with which Routhier uses to guide his mark-making and in the drawings themselves. Routhier describes his practice as a kind of translation, performance, and gestural act toward registering the infinite on fragile works on paper.
Yi Yi Lily Chan’s work in prints and video are complex meditations rooted questions related to identity across cultures, cultural restrictions, social expectations, notions of freedom. Pensive and open-ended, Chan’s videos join her own images and texts with those appropriated from other sources and register fluid connections, missed encounters, uncertainty, constraint, assertion and obliteration of identity as they suggest a kind of loss of ground and horizon.
With her interactive installation "Run in Me," Christy Chow employs gaming and simulation as she draws attention to sweatshop labor and invites viewers and participants to consider the laborers and the labor required to produce garments that we wear daily. Through her subversive use of play, Chow also emphasizes the rift between the experience of participants and viewers and that of sweatshop laborers and the difficulty in communicating the experiences of the laborers to consumers.
Like Chow’s, Loretta Park’s brilliant work in cloth, vinyl, acrylic, silkscreen, and wood work seems to traffic in play—her celebratory mash-ups invite viewers into a transformative, perspective-altering experience of visual pleasure. And, like the proverbial zen lightning flash, remind us that despite all of the pressing concerns, challenges, and difficulties that assert themselves and about which our humanity requires that we care, the ultimate aim of life is joy.
Now You See Me will be on view at Helen Day Art Center from June 19 through August 23, 2015. HDAC warmly invites the public and press to attend the exhibition’s opening reception on Friday, June 19 from 6 – 8 PM at HDAC in Stowe, VT. Seven of eight exhibiting artists are expected to attend the reception, speak briefly about their work, and respond to questions.
Curated by Jennifer Cawley
Exhibition dates: June 19 - August 23, 2015
Opening reception and artist talks: Friday, June 19 from 6-8pm