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Davis, California

Friday, May 17, 2024

MFA Student Exhibition at Nelson Gallery

Art is an ever-changing form, especially when reviewing paintings and sculptures throughout the ages. There was Michelangelo, who created cherub angels and lush scenery. Leonardo da Vinci was renowned for his lifelike sketches of the human body as well as the eternal Mona Lisa, who has the faintest of a smile on her face. Vincent Van Gogh, plagued by depression, celebrated the brightness of life and the world around him. However, as the timeline for art goes on, everything begins to change. Artists began to take charge and create their perspectives to share with viewers, hence Warhol’s “Pop-Art” or Georgia O’Keefe’s abstract paintings of flowers.

Former UC Davis professor and painter Roy De Forest has observed how events could greatly influence art, especially war.

“In a time of social disruption, scientific rationalization, and political instability, the creation of art is an act of dangerous faith,” De Forest wrote in an MFA catalogue.

On Friday, the Nelson Gallery will celebrate its Master of Fine Arts Degree Exhibition in which seven students will be showcasing their work. The exhibition will run from June 8 to 29, allowing faculty, students and art lovers time to drop by and marvel at the students’ creations as well as see how today’s world, with its crumbling political regimes and tension, have impacted the artists’ perspectives.

The seven students who are featured in the exhibition are Dani Galietti, Daniel Brickman, Kyle Dunn, Katherine Nulicek, Terry Peterson, Erika Romero and Jared Theis. Renny Pritikin, the director of the Nelson Gallery, commented on the assortment of different focuses that the artists have.

“This is an unusually multidisciplinary group. There are two performance artists who make sculpture and video, two painters who also make sculpture, two sculptors who make installations and one artist who makes kinetic sculpture,” Pritikin said. “The end result is a jam-packed gallery full of surprises at every turn.”

In addition, Pritikin has written short essays about each of the artists.

“Dani Galietti is a young woman deeply invested in understanding the social roles women still have imposed upon them well into the 21st century,” Pritikin wrote. Galietti will be showing a video of her performances gathered from recent months at the MFA show.

Brickman’s work for the MFA exhibition is an enormous circle that is black and is around 15 feet in both diameter and height.

“Its crisp black line in space focuses the eye on the whiteness beyond; we’re forced to be a shrunken Alice looking through a keyhole at a gigantic world beyond, an art that we look through as much as at. Together his black objects are, like a murder of crows, both ominous and malleable in space,” Pritikin wrote.

They will also be showing a video of his performances in which he is wearing a costume made of netted ceramic trinkets and a headdress and sings about the outdoors.

“In performance, the erect piece is tethered to the ceiling, and the actor in the lower piece is free to nuzzle, sniff around at and flirt with it. The viewer is given access to a private reverie, a drug-free opium dream, an otherwise private playground of the artist’s memory,” Pritikin wrote.

Nulicek will be presenting a three-part exhibition that showcases the different elements in her paintings as well as her interests in sculpture, papermaking and even set design. Dunn, a sculptor and painter, will be showing his series of sculptures which are metal- and plastic-colored. Peterson will be presenting his kinetic sculpture, created from materials which include commercial plastic tarps and bags.

Romero, an artist who investigates illusion and reality through tromp l’oeil painting and minimalist sculptures, will be presenting a series of paintings and sculptures she has done so far. She also recently won the Miguel Velez Fellowship and is planning to continue her work overseas.

“Moving to a place where it is unfamiliar and unknown makes everyone uncomfortable. However, as an artist, I believe it can make my work move in unknown and more challenging directions,” Romero said.

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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