Remarkable Range in Faculty Show
Sea Nettles by Carol Lasch is among the sensory delights at the RISD Faculty Exhibition & Forum 2018.
Since opening at the RISD Museum in late February, the RISD Faculty Exhibition & Forum 2018 has been attracting a steady stream of visitors. Members of both the campus community and the regional public are eager to see original work reflecting the enormous talent and creative vision among the hundreds of individuals who teach at RISD.
Faculty throughout the college’s 23 studio and liberal arts departments are showing in the month-long biannual exhibition. Painting, furniture, sculpture, photography, video, digital installations and more share gallery space in what Providence Journal critic Channing Gray calls a “mind-dizzying array” of concept, color, form and scale. In addition, several faculty members have given presentations on various aspects of art and design practice as part of the Faculty Forum series the museum is running as part of the show.
Entering the exhibition, visitors hear the voice of Paul Badger, a senior critic in Sculpture, emanating from his Device to talk to Alexa, which is locked in a looping conversation with the ubiquitous virtual assistant. The sometimes mundane, at times philosophical exchange between these machines provides a sonic backdrop for experiencing nearby works like Reflection, a minimalist skirt-and-top combo by Maha Barsom, and Imagination, a sumptuous, rainbow burst of fabric by Barsom’s colleague in Apparel Design Jenny-Hwa Park MFA 00 TX.
Nearby a large-scale acrylic-on-canvas painting by Professor of Experimental and Foundation Studies Victor Lara commands attention with kinetic swirls of color and Slice of Life, a mixed-media sculpture by Chris Sancomb 93 SC, abstracts EKG data into the science fiction of its explosive, charcoal-black topography. Just around the corner Interstitial Tension by Assistant Professor of Ceramics David Katz presents viewers with a three-dimensional Rorschach’s test: are those salvaged chairs ensnared in a web of clay—or are they pulling it to pieces?
Spanning multiple galleries on two floors of the museum, the immersive show is all the more notable
for its moments of calm. Up close there’s a meditative quality to the mahogany and lace wood grain of Cabinet on Stand by George Gordon MFA 77 FD, a senior critic in Industrial Design, or the harmonious strands of fine fiber that come together in Assistant Professor of Textiles Ursula Wagner’s Lissajous Weave.
One of the most secluded works in the exhibition—a tranquil colony of Sea Nettles made out of cereal box liners—is among its most striking. It’s by longtime RISD faculty member Carol Lasch, an associate professor in Experimental and Foundation Studies.
Overall, the 2018 Faculty Exhibition is an eclectic sensory feast. From the handmade electric guitars by Rafael Attias 91 GD, a designer and musician who teaches in Digital + Media and Illustration, to the rich, impossibly oil painting-like photography of Things Left Behind, Vermont, 2015 by Thad Russell MFA 06 PH, a senior critic in Photography, the works on view call out to be touched.
And then there is the Please Touch Machine by Lucky Leone MFA 08 DM, a carnival attraction that offers guests a flat, metal palm and then records how many people have accepted the offer “since last [someone] cleaned it.” (Joking or not, it read our minds better than Alexa ever could.)
—Robert Albanese / photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
Three current exhibitions at the RISD Museum underscore the enormous impact RISD graduates make on contemporary culture.
The provost turns to proven in-house talent to fill key positions for the new academic year.
RISD is once again named the top producer of US Fulbright students among special-focus four-year institutions.