March 5, 2012

Student Leader Exhibition In East One and Alcove Gallery

Review by Jessica Kwasniak, Creating Writing Undergraduate, Peer Advisor (2012)

As the optional leadership course, Connections, comes to a close, the Student Affairs office and Career Services have opened their doors and their walls to the artwork of several student leaders. The shows displays the work of Cody Hughes, the current president of the Student Government Association; Laura Juncker and Sam Harvey, both past Orientation Leaders;  Peter Linden, head of the Sculpture Club; Angeline Ucci and Kathryn Moy, both Peer Councelors; and Pamela Stolz, the Sustainability Chair of SGA.

Exhibition view from East One Gallery

Laura Juncker, a sophomore Painting major,  offered her bright candy pink painting Bob Ross Pinup.  Her painting feels tactile; there is a sense of physicality to the portrayal of the Pinup. Her open rope, revealing sections of her very beautiful and even-toned skin, is splattered with paint, whereas her skin is completely clean. The painting has a slightly Impressionist aura to it due to its color and the visible brushstrokes. Juncker’s piece offers a commentary on popular culture, and of pinups.  The pinup of the painting has a paint-stained robe and t-strap heels on. She poses with on foot propped on the stool she sit on, in front of an easel with her painting on it. She is working on a landscape; somehow the ideal and the real clash and morph in this painting. The unnatural shade of pink, which draws the viewers eye in from a distance, and the pinup’s posed body show the performative nature of pinups, the falsity of their actions. Her robe is perfectly placed to show just enough leg and just enough decolletage to taunt the viewer with her sexuality, and also reveals the opposing forces of the posed body and the idealized Bob Ross influenced landscape on the easel.
Laura Juncker's Bob Ross Pinup, 2011

Cody Hughes displayed three works, two  of which are blown up prints of what appear to be google maps images. The first print is called Modern Landscapes: 2, and with the very faint imprint of the word “Google” in the image. The image is a bit unclear, the viewer is uncertain where this landscape comes from. It is truly a Modernized Landscape; it is a satellite view. There is also something incredible ominous about the piece as well, something Orwellian. The image of “Google” leads the viewer to realize that no space is private anymore. We, as a society, have over-commercialized everything. Everything is documented, everything is surveyed. The sister to Modernized Landscapes: 2, sit on the wall beside it. Modernized Landscapes: 3 has a much more sculptural feel to it. The top of the image has pixilated blue and white patches, almost like a poorly done map of an ocean, blown up to the point of illiteracy. His last piece in the show is a sculpture entitled Deviation Prevention System, or DPS for short. The tripod base reminds the viewer of an easel, but through the use of a harness, which is attached to a beam, weighing it down, bringing the viewer’s focus downward, the oppression is clear. The easel-like tripod shows the aim to create but the harness pulls the viewer down. On one of the legs of the tripod, felt is tied. It gives an ominous sense of smothering suffocating, and hiding one’s self. The name inforces these feelings.  We are oppressed before we can begin. We cannot deviate through art if we cannot perform the act of making it. 

A much more fun piece is Sam Harvey’s Midtown Comics Wayfinding Symbols. This sophomore Graphic Design major created fun, comic book influenced “wayfinding symbols.” The symbols are clear and clean. They are a fun way to symbolize the stairs, cashier, and bathroom. They have a massive appeal and charm to them, along with legibility. They are very easy to understand, I even believe a hild would be able to understand the signs and be able to move about the store freely.

Peter Linden, another senior sculpture major, placed his sculpture Holding This in the show. The piece shows a contrast between the natural and man-made.  The ciderblocks that support the white pot mimic/replace the trees in the holograph on the floor. The glove in the pot reinstates human presence in the piece. There is a transition from the natural. The cinderblocks become the support and through the holograph nature becomes augmented, and idealized. In a way nature is further destroyed by its presence in the holograph. It is made ingenuine.

Angeline Ucci displays a political animal rights attitute towards her collage, Untitled. The beautiful wildlife images mixed with chaotic colors leads the viewer to have mixed emotions about the piece. Are the juxtaposing colors and the chaos of the piece, showing how we destroy and idolize nature at the same time? We honor it, we crave it, but we can still destroy it.

Kathryn Moy shows her skills with her project, Designing for Occupy Wall Street. Her presentation, called Store, Show, and GO! Designing for the Urban Nomadic Dweller shows all steps of the creative process of creating a movaing storage container for Occupy protestors.  Her product serves a functional purpose, and fulfills a need. Looking at the presentation and the model of the product, everything seems to work.  This piece is meant to be mass-produced, so it has a bit more geometric and symmetrical aspects.

Pamela Stolz, a senior painting major, exhibits Untitled in the show. The composition feels impressionistic and gives a sense of breathing through brush strokes. The sibject matter is interesting. There are two people, a man and a woman on a couch, the both hold glass bottles in hand. The viewer cannot really distinguish the faces, they are a bit blurred/illegiable. The facial features are there, but there is not enough information to give us a sense of who they are. They have markings on their face, in green paint. They seem like tribal markings, but the viewer, or at least I, could not distinguish what they meant.

Overall the show was amazing, and it was interesting to see what other students were creating. I mean, we all spend copious amounts of out time producing art, so why shouldn’t we share it. The show is currently still up, and I would highly suggest seeing the show.

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 for more information.

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