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Come together right now

by The Concordian November 22, 2011
Happenstance often breeds great artistic discoveries – an overheard song becomes a personal
anthem, a whimsical shop window alleviates winter gloom.
For many increasingly stressed students cutting across the EV building’s York Corridor this semester, the perfect antidote to end-of-term anxiety just may be a trip to the FOFA’s latest offering: COMBINE 2011, the 26th annual undergraduate student exhibit.
Tempting passersby with a few pieces from the exhibit, the EV building’s brightly-lit, all-glass vitrine and the gallery’s Ste-Catherine street windows feature the installation pieces, photography, drawings, paintings, sculptures and video segments of nearly 20 fine arts students.
Juried by representatives from the VAV Gallery, the Fine Arts Student Alliance and the Art History Reading Room, COMBINE 2011 brings together students from all aspects of the fine arts community.
It’s no small feat for the faculty, students, and organizers involved, and it’s something which FOFA director jake moore is exceptionally proud of.
“What we’re presenting is a collaborative effort,” moore said. “Since we’ve been doing the COMBINE exhibits at the FOFA, we’ve been trying to bring forth the full potential of the fine arts faculty.”
“Every fine arts student submitting artwork has been paired with an art history student who writes a responsive text to their piece. Both the images and text will be available in our exhibition catalogue, designed by design and computation arts students,” moore explained.
The emphasis which the COMBINE dynamic places on collaboration, professionalism and delivering quality work prepares fine arts students for the real working world – and they’re impressed with the experience.
“With the Art Matters Festival, the VAV programming and now the COMBINE 2011 exhibition, I was able to practice submission and exhibition procedures, and the exposure from these events is fantastic,” said fine arts student Thea Govorchin, whose video piece Beginnings will be exhibited.
“I thought I would just spend most of my undergraduate degree in fine arts making really bad student art until I secretly found my voice,” joked Govorchin, a Vancouver native, “but Montreal has such a phenomenal artistic community that I’ve been able to bulk up my CV quite a bit.”
Contributor and fine arts student Eli Kerr agrees with Govorchin. It’s experience and exposure that make COMBINE 2011 so worthwhile for participating students, organizers, and visitors.
“The COMBINE 2011 exhibit is really a rare opportunity for undergraduates to get to work with a gallery on this level, as well as a chance for visitors to see writers and artists putting their work forward at one of the school’s best galleries,” added Kerr. “That’s why it’s such an interesting initiative.”
Kerr’s unconventional work is indicative of the variety COMBINE 2011 offers. “I’ve entitled my piece Reflections on Rietveld and it’s a sculptural re-interpretation of Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair,” Kerr explained.
Setting out to re-create such a complicated reconstruction wasn’t easy, but Kerr credits Concordia and his close friends with making his project a reality.
“I’ve been thinking about this project and working on Rietveld for a while now,” Kerr said, “and the COMBINE 2011 exhibit is a great opportunity. There’s such a wealth of knowledge and assistance up at Concordia’s metal shop as well, and the technicians who work there are a fantastic resource.”
Moore is elated with student response. “It’s an opportunity and a challenge for them,” she said, “and they always deliver remarkably well. It’s a pleasure for me to work with them.”
She also announced that COMBINE 2011 will feature guest speaker Josée Drouin-Brisebois who is curator of contemporary art at the National Gallery. Drouin-Brisebois will give a lecture in the York Ampitheatre followed by a reception at the FOFA gallery and adjacent atrium.
“The lecture and reception will bring so many people from the community to the FOFA,” said moore, “which only increases the value of participating in the exhibit for the students and visitors.”
An experience which may be bittersweet for students like Govorchin, for whom COMBINE 2011 will be the last undergraduate arts showing.
“I’ve had a fantastic experience at Concordia,” Govorchin said. “It’s nice to be able to bid it adieu with such a quality farewell show.”COMBINE 2011 runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2. Admission is free. For more information, visit fofagallery.concordia.ca.

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