Biennial Showcases Teachers’ Talents

Biennial Showcases Teachers’ Talents

Despite the bone-chilling winter weather, hordes of art lovers turned out last Thursday evening for the opening of the RISD Faculty Biennial at the RISD Museum. Curated by Director of Campus Exhibitions Mark Moscone 88 PR, the vibrant show presents an expansive range of work by 185 full- and part-time faculty members, filling galleries on two floors of the Chace Center. “I hope the show stimulates a sense of curiosity,” says Moscone. “I would encourage visitors to take the time to really investigate work that catches their attention.”

Many of the exhibiting artists are showing pieces representative of their best-known work, while others have taken the opportunity to step outside of their usual milieus to create delightful surprises. Aaron Forrest and Yasmin Vobis, who teach in the Architecture department, collaborated with Ajay Manthripragada and Howard Huang to create the concrete and steel Periphon, an installation that greets visitors at the top of the escalator to the third floor. And filmmaker Agnieszka Woznicka strays from her usual medium with Unearthed, a series of organic wall hangings made from crocheted wire. “The show gives people an opportunity to experiment a little bit and get feedback from their peers,” one appreciative visitor notes.

Drawing a Line, a video and paint installation by Jewelry + Metalsmithing Critic Sissi Westerberg, proved to be a crowd favorite at the opening. In the video, the artist – wearing nothing but a trench coat – surreptitiously opens the front of the coat to use her pubic hair to apply a bright pink line on an otherwise blank white wall. “I think it’s a great political commentary,” one amused viewer comments, “but I also really appreciate the artist’s use of humor.”

Students and staff also welcomed the opportunity to see celebrated works of art up close. Many were lured in by the seductive sheen of Sculpture Professor Dean Snyder’s large, curvaceous piece Nevermind. And the emotional power of Emerge No. 1, an etching portraying psychological turmoil by Foundation Studies Critic Clara Lieu 98 IL, increases exponentially when experienced in person.

On the lighter side are stunning explorations of pattern by Graphic Design Professor Lucinda Hitchcock, created by manipulating digital letterforms. And the deliciously chunky Folding Garden Chair, handcrafted of oak and nickel by Associate Professor of Furniture Design Chris Rose, combines traditional techniques with a clean, modern sensibility.

As part of the biennial, which continues through March 22, a new Faculty Forum series invites viewers to learn about the work of other RISD faculty artists not featured in the exhibition. Beginning on Wednesday, February 25, selected artists and designers will present brief discussions, readings and performances that shed light on their work.

Simone Solondz

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