||Present/Future: A Showcase of Emerging Artists
Concord Art Association
37 Lexington Road
Through August 15
Latex, that extremely pliable and versatile rubbery substance which is a favorite material among contemporary sculptors because of its ability to mimic the physical properties of a variety of materials, including the quality of animal tissue and skin, is Boston University MFA student Amanda Matthews’ medium of choice.
Her flesh-toned, organic-industrial wall-sculptures, constructed from recycled debris and electrical parts, resemble medical or life-sustaining machines — metal-based equipment growing naturally and adjusting to the anatomical needs of their human hosts. Exhibited alongside the soft and colorful fabric and “hoarder’s delight” assemblages of Rachel Klinghoffer, and the harder-edged, colder, collage-like painting of Anthony Giannini, which also references latex, these diverse forms cross boundaries of time — they reference the past, project our future concerns and comment on our present reality of hyper-collecting in transition. Their compelling appearance, and important conceptual message, won the admiration of Concord artist Ilana Manolson for inclusion in the engaging exhibition, “Present/ Future: A Showcase of Emerging Artists.”
The exhibition, which is eclectically displayed in three galleries at the Concord Art Association, presents the diverse work of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Boston University (BU) graduate fine arts students, and carries the themes of connection, experimentation and process, and future growth. It successfully achieves the Concord Art Associations’ educational mission by expanding upon its fresh exhibition outlook. Manolson, who is the exhibition curator and a Concord Art Association board member, described the artists selected as extremely dynamic, their work demonstrating the future progression of contemporary art.
As expected, the collection is multifaceted, ranging from painting to drawing to sculpture, all grounded by the contemporary use of mixed media process and technology. Students were given the freedom to express structures and forms from their “unique experience” in their graduate programs. The resulting body of work required several years of critical research, experimentation and development. From RISD, the graduate students in fine arts include Hilary Doyle, Anthony Giannini, Rachel Klinghoffer, Francisco Moreno, Kimo Nelson, Arthur Peña, Michelle Rawlings, Astrid Toha, Page Whitmore and Bruce Wilhelm; and from the Boston University MFA Program, the exhibition features Nathan Keay, Amanda Matthews and Emily Wist.
RISD Professor of Painting David Frazer worked closely with Manolson in the selection process. He noted the students’ “willingness to investigate new techniques and materials that challenge traditional notions.” “When the work is abstract,” he wrote, “it is almost in discourse with concept rather than form.” He also pointed clearly to what is already understood in most contemporary art today — that the “conventions for representational painting, like landscape and portraiture from direct observation, do not interest students as much as ideas that are conceptual and open to poetic interpretation.” Manolson observed students’ desire to work in monumental range, and to explore components, gathering them into layered installations with the purpose of communicating progression in concept and relationships between materials.
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