On January 12th, the Museum of Fine Arts hosted an annual exhibition featuring the artworks of FSU’s College of Fine Arts (CoFA) faculty. The works were largely contemporary, taking precedence from historical creative movements, while at the same time challenging those very foundations and pushing the limits of artistic expression. Many were deeply thought provoking, some literally encouraging the viewer to be drawn into the artist’s vision and purpose, moving one to contemplate a given phenomenon or idea.
Upon entering the gallery, visitors were greeted with a wave of creative energy. There was a significant turnout of viewers ranging from seasoned artists, professors, eager students and lovers of art of all kinds, all conversing and laughing as members of a spirited community. Supplementing the positive vibrations was the light fare and drinks provided by the museum staff.
The quantity and quality of the works were nearly overwhelming. Drifting from piece to piece, I was taken back by the diversity of mediums and techniques applied throughout. A decent percentage of artworks were paintings, oil on canvas or panels, watercolor, inkjet, pastel, acrylic and about anything you can think of. Others were sculptural, ceramic, wood, scrap parts and other materials from conventional to unconventional. All were executed with mastered skill and precision.
One of the first pieces that caught my attention was created by associate professor Carrie Ann Baade and Lordscience Universal (David Jones), who are both siblings. This painting is done in acrylic with some spray paint and water-soluble pencils and crayons. It was done on two panels with eight levels of symmetry, positioning the panels in eight different ways to create different scenes.
In the position I saw it, the two panels were aligned so they seemed to form one painting in landscape orientation. Professor Bade mentioned it offered a unique opportunity to work with a member of her family on a series. She also remarked on how the multiple compositions of the paintings created some dynamic challenges they had to overcome. In all, it was a very impressive piece, with an awe-inspiring aesthetic and wonderful rendition.
Another artist I spoke with was Tenee Hart, who created one of the larger sculptural pieces. It was two large, vintage looking lampshades. Between them stood 36 ft of silicon tubing with numerous funnels used to shape nodes into the tubing. All of this was meticulously wrapped in yarn and coiled atop of a vintage bed frame. Beneath it is a syringe that is pouring out silicon. One of the lampshades was positioned so one could see into its cone where there was a dazzling display of pins inserted.
Tenee said her work focuses on body extremes throughout various cultures. This one is no different and is bold in its statement. Hart says it represents how Japanese women would steal military grade silicon and inject it into their breasts during World War II to impress American GIs. They were tying to enlarge their breasts to comply with western standards of beauty, and many suffered terrible side effects from the injections.
Hart says the lampshades are symbolic to the shedding of light on important issues people and women face in cultures around the world. It is nearly impossible to study over the work without feeling its broader implications and declaration that people should be enlightened on the impacts of beauty standards and body extremes.
There were many other outstanding pieces and many other incredibly talented artists. The event fantastically showcased the expertise and diversity of Florida State University’s CoFA faculty. I would keep an eye out for future events to be held at the Museum of Fine Arts and any works coming out of the College of Fine Arts faculty.