Open studios showcase MFA works

Photo by Elizabeth Humphreys.
Photo by Elizabeth Humphreys.

VCUarts graduate students showcased their photography, sculpture and kinetic imaging, and other forms of art, on Feb. 2.

The event was split between the Pollak Building, which housed photography, film, graphic design, interior design and fashion; and the Fine Arts Building, which held sculpture, extended media, kinetic imaging, craft, and painting and printmaking.

The open studios event occurs once or twice a year. Most of the artists stayed in their studios to explain their pieces to attendees.

Sandy Williams, a first-year VCUarts graduate sculpture student, participated in the open studios event for the first time. Williams attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate school and pursued a degree in biology before discovering his passion for art.

“My art professors were more invested in me as a person than my science professors were,” Williams said.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in studio art before beginning his M.F.A. at VCU last fall.

Williams’ main piece was a hat stand — reminiscent of a Christmas tree — covered in hats he created. They were reminiscent of the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” baseball caps, but with different phrases. One said, “Do you know Same?” in off-centered script.

He said his hats are “garments to protect against suspicions of being a foreigner” due to the challenges faced by immigrants in the face of the current political climate.

“Any red hat with white lettering kinda just blends in,” Williams said. “I think making art is a political gesture, like, in itself.”
Carl Patow, a first-year kinetic imaging graduate student, has remained a practicing surgeon throughout his recent formal art education. He said he was always passionate about art and pursued it continuously throughout his career. He showed several pieces for the open studios event, including two translucent spheres with abstract, brilliantly colored images projected through them.
“Some people say they look like eyeballs,” Patow said. “The images are very relaxing to look at and then some of them are very energized.”

The spheres were made from plastic wrap and packing tape, formed into hollowed out spheres. Patow’s second piece was a found object: a car headlight.
“It kinda looks like a fish,” Patow said. “It’s very sculptural and quite beautiful.”

Two years ago, Patow began taking undergraduate kinetic imaging classes before applying to the graduate program.

“I mean, for me, I make [art] so that hopefully it will make people happy and they will enjoy what they’re looking at,” Patow said.

Madeline Wheeler Contributing Writer 

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