Ten first-year Master of Fine Arts students took part in a public critique of their work Wednesday night, which provided the artists with guidance from faculty, peers and alumni.
The second of two shows, which is entitled “[sin-thuh-sahyz],” opened Feb. 4 and will be on display until Feb. 15 in the Edwin W. Zoller Gallery.
The exhibition features works in many different areas of study including photography, new media, painting and sculpture.
A public critique involves a period of time set aside for each, allowing people in attendance to ask questions about the work and offer advice and opinions.
Lillian Lewis, Zoller Gallery coordinator, said the public critique is a requirement for MFA students, in addition to individual direction from a faculty member leading up to the opening of the exhibition.
“This helps the artists build a piece that provides the best projection of their work,” Lewis said.
Lonnie Graham, assistant professor of visual arts, said he thinks the critique process helps artists in three respects.
“They are able to get direct response about the efficacy of the message they’re trying to convey,” Graham said.
Graham said the immediate feedback also helps the young artists place their work in a historical context and understand it in terms of a larger movement.
He said the critique also gives the artists an understanding of vocabulary that will allow them speak critically about not only their own work, but the work of other artists as well.
Lewis said this year’s 20 MFA students are one of the largest and most diverse groups in recent years.
She said the name “[sin-thuh-sahyz],” reflects the artists’ ability to collaborate in the space and apply both converging and diverging styles and ways of thinking.
“It’s about ten individual yet cumulative efforts to get to this point,” Lewis said.
Featured artist Dengke Chen’s piece involved three simultaneously running films that focused on the treatment of animals.
Chen said during his critique, people helped with aesthetic issues and how to make his film more beautiful and strong.
Chen said he would have liked his films to be projected larger, but the space limited him.
“One professor knows how to deal with this issue,” Chen said.
Lewis said that although most of the feedback comes from faculty, peers and alumni of the program, critiques such as last night’s are open to the public.
“There is tremendous growth in this department,” Lewis said.
She said she would urge people to come and see not only the first year exhibit, but the second year and thesis shows as well.
Lewis said the volume of work that is generated by the artists is staggering, and that they don’t get a full appreciation of what they have done.
“People came to see the ‘synthesis,’ they should come back for the ‘metamorphosis,’ ” she said.