I have officially graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design. Before and after the ceremony, I visited the SCAD Museum of Art to see what they had and they had some awesome work on display. My review does not mention every artist, just the ones that stood out to me the most.
So, what stood out to me the most? Artists who use wood as a medium.
The museum had many artists offering their own interpretations on how to make art out of this material. Going for pure abstraction, Leonardo Drew created enormous sculpture out of leftover pieces of wood. Whether flat or swirling, they overwhelm the viewer. I found something beautiful out of these giants made of a material that could give you splinters if you ran your hands over it. Contemplating it, they also reminded me of messy workplaces, such as my father’s wood working area that he had when I was a kid. I remember the peels and shavings he would leave behind from a day of working at the lathe. Another exhibited artist who worked with wood went by the name of Wendell Castle. The title of his show said that the furniture came from the sixties and seventies, and the furniture he created made me think of solidified liquid shapes. Not all the artists featured in the museum had art made with wood. Artist Ellen Gallagher created mixed media that commented on African-American imagery. In her collage DeLuxe, Gallagher combined naturalism with patterns as a way to manipulate advertisements marketed towards African-Americans. In one part of the huge display, I noticed that she juxtaposed photographs of smiling people with documents remembering horrific events such as the Tuskegee Experiment. Art 21 has a quote by her explaining this combination.
Other artists such as Diana Al-Hadid and Tallur L.N. had their own artistic social commentary. Looking at their work made me think that we live in the age of Do-Ho Suh. Artists who take seemingly solid sculptural rules and challenge them with their own views. I don’t really offer new insight into Al-Hadid other than what other people have written about her oeuvre. While her large works of intentionally destroyed mock ups of buildings that often reach to the ceiling, her bronze works do not. Material often used for large, (sometimes) equestrian sculptures made to act as symbols of strength and conquest, and Al-Hadid goes against that by making the material look small, flaccid, and soft. In another room, Tallur L. N. takes a spiritual deconstruction route with his sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist gods. Only instead of deities, money dominates his art. While his artist statement claims he wanted challenges people’s perceptions of money as shorthand for “civilized”, I don’t think he considers monetary wealth as completely bad. In another sculpture, he created a sitting Buddha that a big wooden log with coins jammed into it, a move that obscures the founder’s body.
You know, when I read over that sentence, I noticed how funny it sounds it when one writes out a description.
But I digress…
Taking the audience interactive approach, he (and the museum) wishes for the viewer to take out a coin and use a hammer (found near the statue) to stick one in. Tallur takes a playful approach to what it means when you offer money to art.
On any final thoughts, I don’t really have except that going to this exhibition represented the last time I would use my student card to visit the museum for free.