Review of the RISD faculty exhibition: varied, emotional, innovative

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Entering the second floor of the Chace Center at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the arrangement of the works of art at first seems disjointed: a tall, earthy-toned glass column standing on one side of the gallery, a guitar pierced with honeycombs standing apart from each other. There are huge oil paintings, clean wooden furniture, and framed pieces of text on the walls, even a miniature deer fused with a monarch butterfly.

The selection is the culmination of the work of approximately 170 RISD faculty members, all of whom have chosen to exhibit works at this year’s RISD Faculty Exhibition and Forum. The show opened to the public on October 28 and will run until November 21.

The pieces in the exhibition cover a wide range of themes and mediums. The works range from textiles and furniture to sculpture and photography. Paintings, illustrations, digital creations, jewelry and ceramic pieces are also presented. Themes explored include nature, environment and identity.

The faculty exhibit was curated by RISD Campus Exhibitions Director Mark Moscone, whose office worked with the RISD Museum to set up the exhibit. Acknowledging the diversity of the pieces submitted, Moscone wrote in an email to the Herald that “there is not one theme that is echoed in all the works.” Still, he mentioned that there are several pieces that revolve around notions of nature and the house. “It makes sense given the last year and a half that we’ve all been through,” Moscone wrote.

Regarding the RISD faculty exhibition and forum planning process, Moscone wrote that “the challenge comes with the final layout of the exhibition.” He explained that due to the variety of works of art present, “it takes some time to place the works in the galleries so that there is a uniform flow from one space to another and that the individual pieces work together ”.

RISD Professor of Experimental and Basic Studies, Leslie Hirst, echoed this emphasis on conservation. Referring to her work “See Also” – an installation that mixes lace and scraps of paper – she said that the shadow that her work casts when it is hung is “the most important part”.

RISD faculty member Leslie Hirst presents her piece “See Also” which mixes scraps of lace and paper and casts a unique shadow.

Hirst’s work is an example of the unique mediums and themes present at the exhibition. She created the piece during her residency at the Emily Harvey Foundation in Venice, exploring the relationship between text and textiles. “I’ve always been very interested in the collision between language and the way we see – how language shapes our vision,” she explained.

It also illustrates the exhibition’s emphasis on more contemporary art, transcending conventional artistic approaches. “During my residency,” said Hirst, “I studied with traditional lace makers. Not so much to become a lacemaker, but really to learn how to break it. ”

Phillip Walker, a freshman at RISD, was one of the visitors who noticed the variety of mediums on the show. “I think my favorite aspect was seeing the difference between illustration and painting teachers, and this difference in representation within their art,” he said.

Julia Ambros, a RISD student, was drawn to other types of art. She pointed to a set of ceramic cups all decorated with designs from various organs. As a future major in ceramics, she said that “it is nice to see a ceramic representation”.

After a year and a half of cancellations of shows, postponements and restricted access to the public, the Faculty Exhibition and Forum is a remarkable culmination of the work of years of professional experience and decades of emotional art and innovative. The spectacle is incredibly varied; it’s inconsistent in the best possible way.


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