Students’ failed art fills gallery

Alex Carrigan
Staff Writer

One graphic design course chose to showcase the failed, unloved, unappreciated or unfinished work of student artists.

The student art exhibition “Fail!” opened last Friday as part of First Fridays art walk at the 1509 Main Street Gallery.

“Fail!,” showcases the unloved and unfinished work of student artists from all disciplines. Photo by Sandra Whittington
“Fail!,” showcases the unloved and unfinished work of student artists from all disciplines. Photo by Sandra Whittington

According to the submission guidelines, participating students had to submit what they considered to be failed artwork in some way.

Brendan Ginsburg, a senior graphic design student, was part of the class that arranged the exhibit. He designed the posters used for the show and helped organize the event with his classmates.

“(The show) includes (the) more important part of the process behind art,” Ginsburg said. “Lots of design is moving beyond two dimensions and is tightened with physical spaces.”

In the gallery, the pieces were all left untitled. Next to each piece was a label featuring the artist’s name and a small paragraph explaining why they considered their piece a failure.

Senior painting and printmaking student Megan Hines presented a lithographic piece that failed when the materials ruined the image.

“I spent days drawing the image on the stone. … When I began to roll my image up with ink, the whole stone turned black and 90 percent of my image was lost in the darkness,” Hines explained in her piece’s description.

Hines also mentioned that the piece was supposed to be a commentary on how urban environments and technology can rot an individual. Unfortunately, all but one of the 20 flies that she drew on the image were lost due to the error with the ink.

“We cannot figure out how it happened,” Hines said. “Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what happened, but I’ve been unable to replicate it. It’s kind of a mystery.”

The exhibit also featured an unfinished dance routine by freshman dance majors Morgahn Crawford and Samantha Nelson. Inspired by dancers like Pina Bausch, Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham, the two performed a dance number that was meant to be about addiction, but they were unable to find a way to end it.

“We did it with more random words about how we were feeling at the time,” Crawford said.

Nelson explained that they made the piece based on various types of addiction, such as food and drugs, and had to broaden it with feeling.

The gallery also featured failed student films and a failed interactive piece by James Mattise. In Mattise’s piece, guests had to fill in the blanks to the phrase “I like (blank) (blank) and I can not lie,” and pin them to the wall. Some visitors to the show wrote phrases like “dapper gents” and “pooping babies.”

While the exhibition operates under the premise of failures in artistic practice, it emphasizes the necessity of failure to achieve progress.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” Ginsburg said. “It sounds clichéd, but sometimes it takes an art show to show that process is everything. People shouldn’t be perfectionists.”

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