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Color, Form, Texture: The Year in Works of Art

MFA student exhibitions open across campus


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In the slideshow above see images from the painting and sculpture graduate exhibition and listen to Zach Horn talk about his experience in Ecuador. Below, Elizabeth Ryan and Alissa Gillis share their views on graphic design and art education.

Zach Horn’s paintings are huge—great blue swirls and red lava bursts that can almost swallow viewers. They represent moments and emotions that Horn experienced last month in the Amazon.

“We sat for four days in the middle of the jungle, drawing and painting,” says Horn (CFA’11), who went to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador with Ryan Boutin (CFA’11). “You sit and observe the trees, the monkeys above you, for 8 hours, 12 hours. Then I came back, and didn’t even look at the drawings I did there—I just started to paint.”

The Amazon is a source of inspiration for two of the artistswhose paintings, sculpture, and graphic design make up this year’s Collegeof Fine Arts graduatestudent exhibitions, which present the work of 43 students in those programsand the art education program in the School of Visual Arts. Opening receptionsfor all three will be held tonight, April 15.

Boutin and Horn’s trip to Tiputini was the resultof a conversation between Lynne Allen, director of the School of Visual Arts, and College of Arts & Sciences biologist Thomas Kunz, whose Center for Ecology & Conservation Biology brings students to do fieldwork at the station.

“I mentioned he should take some artists along on the spring break trip, like Darwin did with Mr. Banks,” Allen says. “He thought it was a great idea.”

Horn’s pieces, in the 808 Gallery, share space with multicolored sewn sculptures, like a child’s nightmare of puppetry pulled up from the floor, criss-crossed swipes of black and orange mixed on canvas, and blocky paintings of the T that mirror their real-life counterparts across Comm Ave. And in the corner, visitors are encouraged to walk up a wooden ramp to view a 360-degree diorama.

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Down the street in the BU Art Gallery at the Stone Gallery, three man-sized towers are gathered in the middle of the floor, covered in dates, paintings, and facts highlighting Irish art. Graphic designer Elizabeth Ryan (CFA’11) (above) draws her audience into a calm, collected space.

In Gallery 5, art education candidates display their pieces, but in this exhibition the focus is on their students’ work.

“It’s a little different from the other MFA exhibitions,” says Alissa Gillis (CFA’11). “We have work from five-year-olds and high school students. It’s more of an emphasis on our work as teachers.”

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It was a high school art teacher who charted a course for Gillis (above). As a student at Walpole High School, she was taught by Diana Hampe, now a lecturer at CFA.

“It’s really crazy, since everything’s coming full circle,” says Gillis, who takes classes with Hampe. “She inspired me to be a teacher, and she’s still here for me.”

This semester, Gillis has been student-teaching at Sprague Elementary School, in Wellesley, Mass. Work from her kindergarten to fifth grade classes hangs on the walls in Gallery 5.

The College of Fine Arts 2011 graduate student exhibitions present the work of students receiving master’s degrees from the School of Visual Arts. The graphic design exhibition, at the BUAG at the Stone Gallery, 855 Commonwealth Ave., and the painting and sculpture exhibition, at the 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., will run April 15 through May 6, and the art education exhibition, at Gallery 5, 855 Commonwealth Ave., fifth floor, will run through April 29.

Opening receptions for all three exhibitions, free and open to the public, are tonight, Friday, April 15, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.; the artists will be present.

Kimberly Cornuelle can be reached at kcornuel@bu.edu; follow her on Twitter at @kcornuel.


One Comment on Color, Form, Texture: The Year in Works of Art

  • Anonymous on 05.07.2011 at 4:24 am


    Thank you for your excellent post. I like it and I think it very interesting.

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