Grad Student Art at the Rainbow Building – You Be The Judge

The Rainbow Building is host to new work by UM graduate art students –art is masturbation unless people see it (and for a shameless plug here), go see it, damn it!

These five artists present various ideas ranging from political and social critique to unabashed psychological reactions and utterances. Defining the postmodern is not an easy task since it has become chic to be one of the masses of rebels. No one is a true pioneer at this point in the 21st Century because everyone keeps talking about how it has all been done before, which can never really be true.

Today’s art necessitates an active audience because hopefully we all have evolved with some notion of a higher intellect. All the work of Show Title Here is intellectual and encompasses craft of the hand, mind or eye. None of it sucks, though all of it could be better, yet nothing can ever be inherently bad about art (except for propaganda that encourages hate – unless it is a “comment” on hate). The irony of critique lies in our pride and insecurity in creating meaningful objects and therefore judging them.

As to not offend anyone (god forbid), here is a list of the individual artists and what they are doing in no particular order:
Marianne Levy brings femininity and sexuality to life in pattern and color. Her ceramics has a painterly quality that is dark, yet safe and comforting. She examines fear and mystical disillusionment through questions like, “What/who are we?” Her work on display is portraiture incorporating personal symbols, yet she asks the audience in her artist statement to consciously bring their own subjectivities to the work and interpret it as they see fit. This work has the effect of eating day-old pizza; it is cold and kind of chewy, but tasty and very nourishing.

Joey Golinsky presents mahogany tree trunks, stripped of their bark, that subtly echo the human form. Entitled “Searching for the Human Form,” these naturalistic ready-mades harp to a process that is grander than one single artist’s process – the process of the universe itself. It is too easy to place him into the clichE of a New Age (W)eastern Yanni Mystic who eats tofu and makes art about nature because his materials and ideas are genuine: a rare quality within an egoistic task-oriented culture.

Shannon Calhoun makes dark art that questions the “internal and external essence of the human body” through ceramics and collage. Her “mysterious and dreamlike environments” evoke feminine strength and insecurities. It is gross and shocking sometimes, but saturates any interpretation to the question, “What darkness lies within?”

Jennifer Wood’s work reacts to the “barrage of information” we live with in the postmodern by simplifying the material to understand a greater complexity. The shortest distance between two points always seems to be a line. Her work creates new symbols for an ongoing narrative of storytelling itself. In the end, her question is, “What is our modern world?”

Kim Young is a ceramicist who likes to blur the high art/ low art lines and float into conceptual art that references “crafty” materials and universal symbols. The ironies of contrast (hard/soft, in/out, old/new) infect her work to draw the audience into questioning humor and seriousness. She questions what material and symbol can be as well.

Mark Koven uses photography to reference motion with pictures that move as the eye moves past them in space, like baseball cards depicting the batter’s swing. His work resides between photography and video to force the viewer to become a material within the piece. He uses equations of force and gravity from physics to intellectualize the idea of motion. As with many modern photographers, he feels no need to accompany his work with an artist statement because it speaks for itself. The message appears contrived at times, yet it is significant within the arena of conceptual art.

Nothing can ever be non-conceptual again. All of this work is representative of a landscape in which we all must de-individualize ourselves without losing sight of why we started it all to begin with. Ultimately, the work inspires and therefore succeeds…then again, you be the judge.

Show Title Here is on view at the Rainbow Building on campus on the corner of Sagua and Lavante, a block north of Ponce, through April 18.

Alex Saleeby can be reached at