ELEMENTS: WORK FROM USD’S SCULPTURE CULTURE
by Emma Johnson
Friday, April 14, I had the pleasure of witnessing something that doesn’t happen too often in the art world – an exhibit comprised entirely of student work. The show, titled Elements: work from USD’s Sculpture Culture, featured artworks from both undergraduate and graduate sculpture students at the University of South Dakota. The exciting display highlighted the array of mediums and techniques that USD sculpture students are utilizing in their art making. -Emma
Third year sculpture student Courtney LaVallie’s piece immediately caught my attention as it seemed to be floating in the corner of the room. The work, titled “Unraveling Universe and Her Tears,” appeared as nest of wood strips tangled into an impossible egg shape. Upon closer inspection an opening in the front of the “egg” revealed a web of beaded droplets inside. LaVallie said she is most drawn to sculpture because of its versatility – “I can use any material I want, anything I can find can be made into a piece of art.” LaVallie is primarily interested in processes such as wood carving and metal casting.
In addition to wood working, the exhibit featured pieces of cast iron as well as ceramic works, such as graduate student Amy Fill’s series of porcelain cups titled, “Dynasty”. These ironically elegant forms resemble tin cans covered in soft, rusty orange and blue flowers. “Dynasty” highlights sculpture’s ability to include countless mediums and techniques in order to create a three dimensional piece. Fill works consistently with found-objects, ready-mades, and industrial materials.
A particularly charming piece was Beckett Smith’s “Silhouette”. This one-legged stool defied gravity in the center of the gallery, while its shadow (a thin piece of wood painted black and laid out on the floor) revealed all four legs! This work not only made some great art historical references (Duchamp anyone?), but added a sense of humor and whimsy to the exhibit.
The back gallery at Exposure featured USD student, Leila Ghasempor’s solo show. Ghasempor was the winner of Exposure’s Solo Show award at the annual Stilwell Juried Art Show that occurred this past January. A quick look around the room made it quite evident why Ghasempor received this award. The artist chose to display a series of striking ceramic busts that she created last summer. Each face was carefully twisted and molded into fantastic facial expressions that reveal Ghasempor’s anti-war advocacy. Although her solo show contained only ceramic works, Ghasempor utilizes a number of mediums; one of which is performance. The piece that Ghasempor performed at the opening of her solo show further emphasized the anti-war theme that runs through much of her work.
Students such as Cody Robinson (a senior sculptor) feel that Sculpture Culture is a term used to define the sense of community that sculpture students have formed with one another. Robinson has stated that he enjoys being a part of a group that he can share his ideas with.
The Sculpture Culture show brought to light the sensational student work that all too often remains in the studio as opposed to the gallery. While this group of student artists agree upon the importance of Sculpture Culture, LaVallie has pointed out the importance and necessity of student-led exhibits. LaVallie believes these “are important for students because it gives [them] an opportunity to see [their] work outside of the studio.” Student-led shows also allow young artists to make necessary connections with their audience and other artists working in their community.
APRIL FIRST FRIDAY REVIEW
by Hannah Wendt
With the days getting longer and the sunset guiding my footsteps, where do I go on April’s First Friday night? Downtown Sioux Falls!
Taking the hands of my 7-year-old sister and 4-year-old niece, our first destination is one of our top favorite places in Sioux Falls, the Washington Pavilion Visual Arts Center. March’s First Friday event hosted several new exhibits, so April’s was a continuation of most of the same works. However, twice visited is great for the younger, or the younger at heart, as the building continually offers a fun learning environment.
After our adventure cravings were filled by the Pavilion, we decided to walk (more like skip) across the street to the Sioux Falls Design Center. For the last while, popping into the Design Center to see what they are all about was on one of my priority lists. I led my two companions through the door, and, wowza, I’m glad the three of us stopped in during Free First Friday! They were demonstrating how to complete your own screen printing…with Easter designs on cards! We followed a helpful individual to a table set up with colored card stock, and already prepared screen printing boxes. The process of pulling a squeegee across an ink covered screen onto the paper underneath to produce something entirely new fascinated anyone inexperienced with printing. So, for my little sister and niece, it was the equivalent of finding a treasure chest in a never before discovered cave.
Eight-thirty rolled by, and signs of tiring feet, tiring eyes, and tiring minds appeared. Our First Friday trio called it a night. Moreover, it would be a challenge to contain our excitement for the fun that was set to be had the next morning. We looked forward to exploring new ways of doing origami at JAM Art and Supplies with local artist, Reina Okawa, who will be putting the origami pieces together into a full scale installation at the Washington Pavilion. Oh, what great things Sioux Falls is holding for us in the near future!
by Tana Zwart
The Sioux Falls Mayor’s Disability Awareness Commission hosted their 7th annual ARTability reception at the Museum of Visual Materials on April First Friday. Roughly 60 local artists with disabilities displayed limitless creativity in a wide range of mediums; even needlepoint and macrame. Melodies from local flautist, Vicki Kerkvliet, provided ambience while over 130 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, and perused the large exhibition.
The transforming and therapeutic nature of art seemed to be a prevalent, collective undertone. One artist noted a drastic evolution in her paintings from when she initially started creating. The angry stark blacks and piercing reds she described of her first works compared to the prominently more colorful, abstract pieces she had displayed that night, was a testament to an internal shift that can come from finding an outlet that fits.
The exhibition was a one-night event, as opposed to previous years where the art hung in the museum for a month prior to the reception. Many of the pieces were available for purchase, with all of the funds going directly back to the artist.
It would be wonderful to see more faces of the art community at next year’s event. Keep it on your radar. I promise, you won’t want to miss it!