The exhibition that I have chosen to write about is being shown
in the gallery located on the first floor of the VCU Fine Arts
Building. It displays the work of four individuals, who graduated
from VCU about ten years ago and who are now living and working
as artists in New York City.
On entering the gallery, the work of David Duncan is
situated on the left hand wall. It consists of three pieces
– one digital video and two paintings. The paintings are executed
in oil and acrylic on linen and are painted in a precise, clean
style. When viewed at close range, they appear somewhat blurry,
but become almost photographically clear when viewed from across
the room. I admired the paintings, but the video did not hold
my attention for very long.
by Rob Conger
Moving around the room, the long wall of the gallery shows
works by Rob
Conger. This display includes six pieces, all of which
were worked in acrylic yarn on canvas mesh. They are worked
in the style of hooked rugs but each one is a skillfully rendered
portrait. These wall hangings combine the skill of a craftsman
in fiber art and the painterly quality of an artist in their
subjects. Conger’s choice of subject is interesting - the Index
of Good, portraying Fred Rogers and Jane Goodall,
seem appropriate but it seems slightly strange to see the Index
of Evil and the World’s Strongest Man and Woman made
out of something that appears and feels so soft and fluffy.
The next artist is Tim
Wilson, who displays two large oil paintings on (52"x
64") canvases. They have an ultra-realistic quality and
shine to them, making the viewer believe in the hard plastic
material of the subjects. The painting of Big Red is
particularly realistic, almost having a
trompe l’oeil effect, as the nose appears to stick out
from the canvas. The high gloss varnish also enhances the impression
of a hard shiny object.
The fourth and final wall displays the work of George
Ferrandi. Her installation is a three-dimensional piece,
made up of small pictures and sculptural items. She uses a variety
of materials including plaster, carved soap, wood, paint, feather
boa, pencil and glass. There are images of cats, dogs, geese
and a floating girl, as well as drawings of trees and a chair.
Part of the installation is a sculptural wash hand basin complete
with carved soap, feather pompoms on sticks and a small "hammock"
hanging from the wall. I couldn’t help thinking that this would
be a cat’s dream bathroom! I did not really understand what
the artist was trying to say, but I did enjoy the images and
also the overall delicate effect and craftsmanship of the piece.
I enjoyed this exhibition and it has made me curious to know
what their art was like when these alumni were attending VCU.
It is interesting to note that while I feel that VCU has a tendency
to encourage its students to paint and explore an abstract approach
to art, three of the four artists exhibiting here are working
in a representational and realistic way.