Written by Elisha Frazer
Photos by Elisha Frazer
A collection of pieces seeking to bridge the divide between different art media, the “Inter-” art exhibition at the Ashmore Gallery displayed the work of graduating SCAD seniors.
“This is a part of our senior seminar class,” said Mirielle Jefferson, a fourth-year painting major from Hoover, Alabama. “The goal of the class was to put on a show—a student show.”
Jefferson had the privilege of showing several of her more abstract pieces. She and fellow painting seniors Ann Haley from Atlanta and Tim Kent from Overland Park, Kansas, utilized the gallery space to create an interconnected environment for viewers. According to Haley, the pieces not only complement each other in their non-objective nature, but also convey a combined aesthetic achieved through two different media. The idea of creating a gallery with different art forms inspired the group’s exhibition title.
“Our title, ‘Inter-,’ is a prefix meaning between. We feel that the notion of “between” really embodies each of our concepts. Because our works are not exploring the same betweens, we specifically chose the prefix ‘inter-‘ to imply that there are multiple betweens,” said Haley in an email.
Inspired by artists Julie Mehretu and Kazimir Malevich, Jefferson’s series is a collection of large scale paintings and 3-D sculptures that reference different historical works of art. The title of one of Jefferson’s large canvases, “Art Histories V,” gives away the study of art history as one of her main inspirations.
“The idea [is] that all contemporary art is unoriginal,” she said. “Contemporary art is referencing or based off of the past that already exists. That’s so true with my paintings because every edge and line and shape and color that you see is the edge of an historical artwork.”
Kent’s extensive background in building in a woodshop enabled him to break the mold using canvas, gesso and oil paint. His works shift the viewer’s perception of traditional canvases, manipulating the boundaries of several canvases.
Kent said in an email, “My work is an instance of liberation through challenged limitations. Often times, a limitation can be restrictive, but it is when restrictions are questioned—pushed to the edge … that’s where really interesting outcomes surface. … By sticking to these guidelines, I not only strive to push the limits of what a canvas can be, but also question the line between painting and sculpture.”
For Kent, part of the experience of viewing his 3-D structure “Objectified” comes from the viewer’s speculation.
“I enjoy people’s reaction when I tell them each piece is stretched canvas, and watching as they try to figure out the construction of each piece,” Kent said. “My hope is that they take with them a similar mindset of questioning the standard approach to any situation.”
In addition to Jefferson and Kent, Haley further contributed to the dualistic theme with her installation-painting display. Haley took an organic approach to her work. She said she hoped viewers will pull what they want from her work, just like she does in the making of her work.
“I am interested in the threshold between contrasting elements: chance and choice; the hidden and the exposed; the muted and the saturated; digital movement and organic movement; aesthetic knowledge and rejection of aesthetic knowledge,” said Haley in an email. “A threshold is more than just a passage from one side to another. It is a still moment in time, space, action, and ideas … I want the viewer to receive from my work, rather to inform them of my process, and let them take what they want from it. My message lies somewhere within my process.”
Haley’s most recent work includes a painting displaying natural, warm tones, with a small retro television showing a static glitch. The piece’s quirk title: “I Don’t Think You’re Ready For This Jelly.”
“These videos were projected onto large scale canvases and I would spontaneously react to not only the organic movement, but also to the digital mediation that is created by the unsteady film…” said Haley. “With my most recent painting, I abandoned the visual presence of organic movement, and really focused more on the digital glitch created by my organic movement when holding a camera, but in relation to actual digital glitch formed by data-moshing. I then used the same performance interaction process to inform the composition of the painting.”
After SCAD, the students hope to continue their craft in other locations. Jefferson said she plans to continue her work in New York in the fall. Kent plans on going to Atlanta to create his own “studio/woodshop.” Haley is hoping to build her portfolio and continue her education through graduate school. They advise the underclassmen to work hard for their ambitions, believing the best rewards come from taking risks.