The UW Interdisciplinary Visual Art’s (IVA) Senior Studio course (ART400) opened an exhibit titled Prism on Friday, May 31, in the Odegaard Undergraduate Library, where the 19 students enrolled displayed their final projects.
These pieces were the only ones produced from the class this quarter, as senior studio’s purpose is to workshop and perfect a single piece of art over the course of roughly nine weeks. Under these circumstances, stakes were high, yet as instructor Timea Tihanyi proudly asserted in an opening statement, it was “one of the strongest shows ever done by the IVA seniors.”
The interdisciplinary aspect of the IVA program was emphasized by the name of the event itself, as the title was based on a prism’s ability to draw on a single aspect and split it into many, creating a beautiful spectacle.
The exhibit was spread across three stories of Odegaard, where one could view conventionally recognizable forms of visual art, such as painting and photography, alongside more unconventional methods, with one example that could potentially be considered “art as a space”: Yuying Hung’s “The Abandoned Cabin.”
“The Abandoned Cabin” stood prominently on the ground floor, a red monolith against the library's static background; upon closer inspection, the piece presented itself as a room made largely of tape and cardboard, giving it a dilapidated, “abandoned” appearance. However, the building itself wasn’t merely there for observation, as written on a sign outside the entrance to the structure were instructions: “Put on the earplugs/headset and go in the room, take a minute or two and think of the moment after you cut off someone you love who is close to you, put your hands in the cooler on the ice for 15 seconds, then put your hands on your heart for 3 seconds, push play on the audio player next to the ice and listen.”
The recording was 50 seconds of various people telling you that it was best to “let them go,” with intensity picking up toward the end and voices overlapping until they abruptly ended. The whole experience was visceral and cathartic, with the feelings only growing further once one realized that the instructions read “someone you love” in the present tense.
Hung said that her inspiration for this project was actually engendered by personal experience. She used gashes along the walls of the cabin to symbolize the pain cutting off someone close causes, and tape to show that she hopes for healing, not just for herself, but others in a similar situation.
“This might sound cheesy, but you just gotta believe in yourself,” Hung said. “It doesn't matter what other people say or tell you, you can get through it.”
Even if it wasn’t apparent at first, there was something personal to the artist that manifested itself in many of the projects. Jisoo Jeong expressed her own experience confronting her own faults in the context of the seven deadly sins within her exhibit titled, “Seven Golden Sins.”
Comprised of seven paintings with self-portraits, Jeong stated that she conceptualized the project after beginning a spiritual pursuit, where she began to suspect that relations with the seven deadly sins might be the greatest opposition to experiencing self-love.
As an example of a specific interaction, Jeong pointed to the portrait that represented envy.
“[I was] envious of the person I was and the person I can be, and somehow always stuck between the two,” she said.
The projects displayed at Prism aren’t merely examples of multimedia visual expertise within a course, but also a means for artists to express their own experiences and ideals.
“All artwork is personal,” Jeong said. “We may try to not include an intimate version of ourselves, but we do.”
“The Abandoned Cabin,” “Seven Golden Sins,” and many other works of art can be viewed as part of Prism at Odegaard until June 11.
Reach contributing writer Aaron Kerschner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Aaronkerschner
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