Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vernissage 2008: San Francisco Art Institute MFA Graduate Exhibit


John and I caught the last day of the San Francisco Art Institute Master of Fine Arts exhibit over the weekend. The show took over the massive Herbst Pavillion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco where students exhibited their collective bodies of work.There were well over one hundred artists in this magnificent show, so we saw eye candy at every turn.


Since the 1940’s, the SFAI's interest has been in educating artists who will become creative leaders in their respective fields. In the 1950’s SFAI was responsible for developing the Bay Area Figurative Group founded by painters Elmer Bischoff, David Park, Joan Brown and Frank Lobdell to name a few, and the Funk Movement a fusion of abstract expressionist, figurative and jazz.


In 1961 S.F. Art Institute expanded to include performance and conceptual art, graphic art, typography and political social documentary. Offering photography in 1946 with Ansel Adams establishing the 1st fine art photography department at the school, in 1968 Annie Leibovitz graduated from SFAI.

In the current crop of graduate work, notable are Aria Tudanger’s life sized “Bear” and Lisa Huffman’s “Label, Catalogue of Images”; dresses, shirts, pants with buttons, designer labels, washing instruction labels and price tags tacked, sewn, strung all over each piece, complete with a labeled Barbie dress. Especially notable were the delightful miniature clay and bronze works of William Slavis. What follows are some random photos that I took to give you some highlights of what we experienced.

These pictures depict only one of the miniature scenarios that were created by William Slavis. There were dozens in all...little people in drum circles, running, climbing, having sexual relations.... He made the plastic versions of his bronze figures available to viewers via a vending machine.
William Slavis

William Slavis



This brilliantly delicious painting was made by Korean artist, Olivia Im. Her paintings examine themes of “otherness” by depicting the effects of introducing an outsider into a particular social group. Food-based characters play out psychological battles inspired by Im’s observations of behavioral patterns in children.
Hoyeon Olivia Im

One of my favorite parts of the show was about labels and was created by Lisa Hoffman.
Lisa Hoffman

If we stop long enough to take a second look at the clothes we wear, the symbols and text provided reveal numerous stories. Labels contain information about where an item was made, the fiber content, and care instructions. These become clues to stories of industrialization, globalization, and socialization. Inventory codes and style numbers can be traced back to giant corporate offices far removed from the laborer or the consumer. These companies are responsible for developing billions of products that flood the marketplace regularly, tempting our desires for the item of the moment. Because of current business practices we are able to pay so little for most of the garments we own. It is not uncommon to buy something because it is cheap, wear it only once, and then toss it away. Consumerism that promotes progressively greater levels of consumption can not continue. These days paying a little more, buying a little less, and making and buying locally makes a lot of sense.
Lisa Hoffman

Lisa Hoffman

Aria Tudanger's work was pithy and disturbing at once. Her larger-than-life-sized "bear" and racks of patterns labeled "Not ME" told a story of identification...or was it lack of identification...?
Aria Tudanger

Shortcut to a New You Pattern

Aria Tudanger

Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov's pigment prints from her series, "De Rien ..of nothing" were the result of an intense period of investigation and artistic development.
Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov

Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov

Ryan Verzaal is an artist, musician and cultural nomad, who exhibited these huge slabs of unidentifiable "meat" on ornate pedistals . His work derives from confronting and questioning those in positions of power and privelege. I was fortunate enough to capture this image of a dog questioning what the hell kind of meat was in front of him.
Ryan Versaal


2 comments:

Rosalie said...

Wow! The lifesize bear is amazing! And I loved the tagging project as well. Wish I could have been there, but it inspires me to check out the graduate exhibits here in Seattle -- thanks!

Lisa Hoffman said...

Hello Stacy!
I found you when my Google Alert came up with my name on your Blog:
Lisa Hoffman.

I was delighted to find you. Looks like we share a number of associates as well.

You are now bookmarked. I get to the San Fran area often, as we have family in Half Moon Bay.

Again, happy to have found your Blog. And the Other Lisa Hoffman's work?...Bravo!

Lisa Hoffman 2

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