October 31, 2011

Hwanyoung Jung, "Urban Solitude", Solo Show in Alcove Gallery

Review by Clara Wanatirta, History of Art and Design Graduate Student (2012)

The Student Affairs Office, doubling up its role as the Alcove Gallery, currently houses Hwanyoung Jung’s exhibition Urban Solitude. An MFA student majoring in photography, Jung’s work is highly influenced by artists such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Demand and Thomas Struth, amongst many others.

Jung displays five large‐format landscape photographs of the built environment, creating an interesting dynamic with the setting of this gallery. The artist frames scenarios of disconnection between the human self and the manmade surroundings by isolating individuals against vast urban landscapes. Jung’s photographs suggests that the city can easily make a person conscious of his or her personal loneliness amidst a sea of strangers at any given moment of the day.

"Untitled" 2009, digital c-print, 30'' x 40''
Uncannily, perhaps, Jung’s photographs hang at the back of a few of the staff members of the Student Affairs Office, highlighting the reality of solitude as part of the daily life of city dwellers.

Concerned with the notion of the singular unit, and therefore solitude, as the essence of existence, Jung’s body of work in this exhibition reflects this thought through capturing the city landscape juxtaposed with the solitary individual and the nature being marginally accommodated by the concretes.

The artist admits that this idea drives most if not all of his thought process, and has undoubtedly directed his artworks towards this specific notion. However, he wishes for his audience to freely interpret his photographs and take away the parts that might have stood out to them. Jung facilitates this by printing in large size, exposing minute details that would otherwise go unnoticed in landscape compositions.

It goes to show that Urban Solitude is merely a fraction of Jung’s exploration of the individual. There is a progression of idea seen in this exhibition that promises further development. A comprehensive series of work perhaps await in the near future.

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing ccpdprograms@gmail.com for more information.

Sheena Dowling, "Inside Out" Solo Show in the Fishbowl Gallery

Review by Sophie Buonomo, History of Art and Design Graduate Student (2013)

 "Skin", 2010-2011, panty hose
Sheena Dowling’s Inside Out, on view now in the Fishbowl Gallery, is a work of grotesque beauty. Dowling twists, stretches, and sews found materials, such as nylons, ribbon and lace into objects that are at once abstract and deeply associative. These objects have an implied narrative – their stains and tears tell the story of human contact - and in most minds, an irrevocably female connection.

Dowling intends to question these associations, and her work explores the ambiguity of gender. When the nylons are sewn together, they create both phallic and leg-like shapes flowing in and out of each other, leading the viewer to a contemplation of the rigidity of gender construct. This ambiguity leads Dowling to describe her work as feminine, but not necessarily feminist. Bodily references - both male and female - play a large part in Inside Out. The stuffed and sewn nylons, contorted into tube-like shapes, resemble intestines and phalluses, while the stretched nylons are markedly skin-like. These associations are born out by the material, which has touched the most intimate parts of the body, only to be discarded. This refuse has absorbed not only the energy of the original owner, but of Dowling herself through the movement of her hand.
"Protection", 2011, panty hose,
 ribbon, fabric and wire

She describes the influence of Oceanic art, noting that ritual objects are often wrapped in fabric to give them unearthly power. She sees her stitching as an act of wrapping as well as a meditative process. Her intervention beautifies the process of decay, and prolongs the life of these discarded objects. Inside Out represents the artist’s simultaneous struggle with the ultimate futility of the preservative gesture and the universal fear of both human and material impermanence.

This exhibition is part of the Student Exhibition Spaces Program coordinated by the Center for Career and Professional Development at Pratt Institute.  All current students can submit work for inclusion in future exhibitions by emailing ccpdprograms@gmail.com for more information.

October 24, 2011

"Urbanized" Film Review

     As students in Pratt’s School of Art and Design we generally focus on creating things, whether buildings, products, art installations, or graphics. We create the object rather than the environment that defines it. Similarly, we overlook the role that design plays in the formation of our cities and communities. Everything - the width of the sidewalk, the design of each park bench, the infrastructure of every highway - has been designed. Gary Hustwit's third film in his Helvetica and Objectified design trilogy, Urbanized examines the cities we live in and how they shape our lives.

     The film features urban design projects in cities around the world, with commentary by leading architects, planners, politicians, and innovators. Hustwit's selection of projects provides inspiration beyond urban planning, relevant to most any field. For the Communications Design student, check out how the Tidy Street project generates awareness of energy usage through a street-wide information graphic. Fine artists can contribute to urban design as well-- Candy Chang’s work uses stickers to facilitate conversation within her community. Placed on abandoned buildings, passerby are encouraged to write what they wish was there. Housing developments in Mumbai show a positive way to accommodate growth through participatory architecture and interior design. As far as public infrastructure goes, the pedestrian pathways in Capetown demonstrate that effective urban design can lower crime and enhance the quality of life. 

     Within Pratt’s School of Architecture, students in City and Regional Planning, Environmental Systems Management, Facilities Management, and Urban Design majors consider such possibilities on a daily basis. These students, often overlooked by the general Pratt population, are actively involved in the development of our community. Check out their Sustainable Planning Blog to keep up with PSPD news (Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development). 
     No matter what your major is, Urbanized offers plenty of inspiration. The storyline weaves together urban development efforts from around the globe with awe-inspiring cinematography. Urban design aficionados may be disappointed by how the documentary skims over the intricacies of their field, but as with Helvetica and Objectified, the film isn't meant to be an in-depth report on the status of an industry. It merely intends to bring to light the design behind our daily interactions. In this it excels, highlighting that the structure of the city itself, more than any other factor, defines the lifestyle of its inhabitants. In Urbanized, Hustwit successfully draws attention to the influence of urban design on the city that evolves from it. 

**One last note: The film concludes with a shot of our dearly beloved G train!

October 11, 2011

Internship Success: Macy's

Danielle Ryan, Fashion Design 2012
Place of internship: Macy's Summer 2011

Danielle has always had an interest in market-driven, corporate fashion businesses, so when an opportunity to intern at Macy's Merchandising Group presented itself in May of 2011, she knew it was right. Interns choose from departments such as men's, women's children, accessories, loungewear, and home. Danielle found out more about the program in weeks leading up to orientation: it was a paid, 40 hour per week, 8 week-long internship program that included working closely with a design team daily and a special market-based side project for interns that would be presented to executives of Macy's. The best part is that a majority of interns are offered jobs for after graduation. It seemed like the most promising offer, so Danielle signed on with Alfani women's cut and sew knitwear from the beginning of June until the end of July.

Macy's Merchandising Group encompasses all of Macy's private brands, the labels that are designed within Macy's and placed on the salesfloor along side other brands that Macy's carries, such as DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, and BCBGeneration. The total profits of private brands makes up about 20% of MMG's business, so it's a really great opportunity to design for them and bring the customer back to Macy's again and again.

The best part about Danielle's experience at Macy's, besides being paid, was getting to meet some of the top executives of Macy's, such as Terry Lundgren, Peter Sachse, and Jeff Kantor, and receiving their advice about being successful in the fashion retail industry. Also, at the end of the program, all of the interns get to choose a location at which they do community service. This is an important aspect of the Macy's company culture, which Danielle feels is important and says a lot about the people who work there. Danielle feels that Macy's really takes deep interest in interns as the future of their company and takes great care of them, from paying them to ensuring they do not work more than 40 hours each week. Another awesome aspect was that all of the interns are taken to New Jersey where the Macy's Parade Studio is located. They are given a personal tour of the facility and get to see the entire process of how the balloons and floats for all of the Macy's events are created. Finally, Danielle has made lasting connections and friendships with other students in many areas of fashion - buying, planning, merchandising, accounting, e-commerce - from schools around the country.
Danielle's best advice for a student seeking an internship: "In my department, we are often told to just intern in one specific area, such as specifically design, but it is extremely important to know every aspect of your industry inside and out, and today, people who will hire you are often looking for that person that has experience in everything - design, sales, merchandising, public relations, production, social media - and isn't afraid to try something new. As long as you're learning, there's no such thing as an unhelpful internship. Also, coming from a fashion major, ALWAYS dress professionally - people really do take notice and appreciate it. It shows that you care about your job and you take care of yourself."

October 7, 2011

Peer Book Report: Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook

Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media
by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook New Media Art and Design encompasses so much of the content that artists are creating today from fine artists to designers. How people make art is rapidly changing, so why wouldn't the spaces in which we view it change as well? Rethinking Curating begins with an analysis of the New Media art form; how it started up and how it has changed. Part II explains the contexts, practices and processes of curating. Finally, Part III is dedicated to the author's conclusions bringing the two previous sections together. There are many examples dispersed throughout the body of the book, which provides good context to the material being discussed. This book is great for anyone involved in the curation processes, as well as the digital artists creating the works. In this book you'll find sections about:

  • Art After New Media: Histories, Theories and Behaviors
  • The Art Formerly Known as new Media
  • Space and Materiality
  • Rethinking Curating: Contexts, Practices and Processes
  • Curating in an Art Museum
  • Other modes of collaboration
To see other books in our library, see our collection at http://www.librarything.com/catalog/prattcareer.