Sunday, May 5, 2013


The latest exhibition at the Woldenberg Art Center on the Uptown Tulane campus included the works of three students realized for their Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts.
Their artists' statements available at the entrance in a folder were a great introduction to a well prepared show in the spacious and well lit gallery.
Starting with the works from Margaret Spacapan, with her transformation of industrial objects, keeping their shapes but changing scale and material, she introduces new meanings to an element of concrete retaining wall or ventilation system. These mundane pieces when executed in a different media acquire a new status. Light, ethereal in glass or heavy, funerary in cast concrete, they loose their function but gain a  minimalist aesthetic and symbolic value.

The bright painting from Madeline Marak (a pentaptych) is a résumé of her presentation, an accumulation of colors, shapes, designs and memories from childhood. Two abstract panels suggest a relationship between natural and man-made world. In the adjacent room, pattern pieces at first have an uptownish flavor till one looks closer and discovers the fading, scratches, watermarks and the deeper meaning of the work. Like photographs, perfumes, the wallpaper samples bring memories and stimulate the imagination. Catheter Bags, 2012 is an interesting caricature of our consumer world where  very intimate indispensable products  are covered by colored graphics to give them an appealing look. The pink designs hide the function of the object, the catheter bag.

Sam Crosby invites us to a party and we feel like being too early or too late. This is the intention with The Party, 2012. We can anticipate the fun but know that fun is always tainted with some regret. Crosby uses repetition to give us a feeling of boredom with twelve identical clown faces arranged next to each other or with Aloha, Aloha, 2013, a similar pattern of shower curtains applied on a board. Yes, fun can be overwhelming and a tropical paradise can become oppressive.

In all their works, with different media, each artist has delivered a consistent message.
Graduation, a milestone, the end and the beginning,

photographs by the author:

work from Margaret Spacapan
"Fairfield Breakfast Room", Madeline Marak, 2012
detail "The Party", Sam Crosby, 2012

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