There exists a place where student-created art is recognized in all its multidisciplinary glory and this place is in our very own EV building. For the 28th year, Concordia University’s Faculty of Fine Arts (FOFA) is holding an exhibition of the works of their undergraduates, entitled Combine 2013. The exhibition comprises various art mediums, including photography, sculpture, drawing, and video.
110 submissions were considered this year, only 10 per cent of which were selected by a jury of student leaders from the Fine Arts Students Alliance (FASA), the VAV Gallery and other practicing artists. The aim of the exhibit is to showcase the diversity of practices within the faculty, as well as to prepare the participating students for future professional endeavours.
“[There is] an impulse for the gallery to really showcase all of fine arts, all the departments,” said Mark Sussman, Associate Dean of Academic and Student affairs.
This year, the exhibition is paired with a catalogue written and curated by undergraduate students from the Department of Art History.
“This is a really big deal. The idea of recognizing sites of publication, not just to be [part of] the gallery where we make public the production of fine art, but looking at the catalogue [is] something that extends beyond the temporal opportunity of exhibition,” said jake moore, director of FOFA Gallery.
“It’s very exciting to see that combination,” added Sussman.
Standing out in scope and impact is April Martin’s “Pink Cloud I”, located in the FOFA Gallery vitrine and composed of five pink plasticine ball-like structures. Martin conceptualized the installation while abroad in Finland, where, for two weeks each December, “the Arctic North begins to sink into a polar night”; the sun no longer rises above the horizon, leaving behind pink clouds in the sky, the inspiration for Martin’s work.
Next, upon entering the gallery itself, you are greeted with “The Authors Narrative” by Camille Barrière-Brunet, a collection of interactive hand-bound books. Inside these books, there are no words, rather, the emphasis is on putting a face to the usually face-less authors in order to create the full portraits of Virginia Woolf, Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The writers, presented in this way, are made whole and human.
Another visually commanding work, “Adonis Complex” by Edwin Isford, lines an entire wall of the FOFA Gallery, and consists of 16 photographs. This work delves into the subject of muscle dysmorphia, a medical condition that causes the afflicted to be obsessed with their body image. All photographs feature two males, one slender, and another large and muscular. Isford explores the disorder by using these two figures as opposing identities, in a constant corporeal power struggle, despite them being physically united within the frames.
On an equally striking note is “Diane’s Garden” by Steffie Bélanger. Covering the gallery’s floor are sculptures of wood and metal beams standing upright from the ground up, all facing an eight-foot high loudspeaker, which quizzically, casts a shadow of a camera against the wall behind it. The installation is minimalist in composition, and the visitor is encouraged to walk through this garden of timber logs, pausing to ‘hear’ the silent sound of the overwhelming speaker.
Finally, tucked away in a hidden corner of the gallery space is a small black room, that before even entering it, you are warned of the strobe-powered visuals you are about to encounter. “Holy Trannity” by J’VLYN, is a looping video of the artist.
“It’s a three part video and it’s basically my cathartic journey through self-acceptance, and through the lens of being a trans-feminine person […] a fuck you to people that don’t appreciate it, and a pat on the back to myself,” explained J’VLYN.
The celebration of the sensory experiences of sight and touch brings forth a sense of wonderment; Combine 2013 isn’t just a great student show. It is a great show. Period.
Combine 2013 takes place at FOFA Gallery located in EV Building — 1515 st. Catherine W. and runs until Dec. 6.
For a complete list of participating artists and writers, visit: fofagallery.concordia.ca/upcoming/combine-2013/