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:: By Amber Lee Mason

:: Photo by Dan Dry

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Peer Review ::

On Exhibit

Generating buzz

A busy collection of pieces from this year’s graduating MFA students, Research and Development explores the tension between the University and its Committee on Visual Arts, “one of the few departments of applied theory within a research institution,” according to the exhibit notes. The show ran this June, housed in the quiet, open spaces of 47th Street’s Little Black Pearl gallery. Waiting to greet visitors was a phalanx of Michael Dinges’s engravings: everyday objects, including a bucket and a PVC pipe, scratched over with political messages and precise drawings of iconic animals. Around the corner, Caroline Mak’s webs of unstrung crochet poked through sheetrock and wound around a garden hose, while across the way John Preus’s Narrative Generation System 1: Homezwarethartiz used a desk fan to animate a hair ball and toy tractor. Prues added a discreet video camera that projected passing images on a television, bringing the observer into the artwork. Ben King’s abstract collages lined the walls, leading to David Wolf’s (AB’00) installation of steel, asphalt, roofing, speakers, an amplifier, wires, and a CD.

photo: on exhibit

Julia Oldham’s Rotations (above), three televisions broadcasting time-lapse video loops, buzzed quietly in the gallery’s center. Emulating a bee and its complicated dance to communicate the location of food, the artist frantically flapped her arms and sniffed a ring of empty glass jars on one screen; on another she scurried between piles of powder, gradually distributing the “pollen.” “Initially, engaging in a mimetic way in the activities of animals feels repetitive and chaotic,” Oldham wrote in her artist’s statement, but as the work continues, she added, a system emerges.

Contributors also included Kate Baird, Merry-Beth Noble, Tara Strickstein, and Lindsey Walton.