Tonight I popped up to the School of Visual Arts to check out a show featuring work by recent graduates and current students. Not only have I not been to this space before (on 23rd and 3rd Ave), but I’ve never been to a student show in the city. As it turned out, I was really impressed.
The space itself, which was crammed in a hallway and an entrance room, was pretty disappointing. It’s held at a college so there are allowances – but it was a shame the work wasn’t showcased better.
Not to worry – because the exhibition, ‘Abstract Intentions’, was brilliant. My favourite moment came when I was following the list of artworks on a handout and noticed that one – a blue foam and enamel sculpture entitled ‘B/Y’ by Anthony Donatelle – was missing. I wondered if perhaps it had been removed or not finished in time.
And then, I realized that it was there. It was just really, really mini.
I loved this, and every one of his pieces made me smile. They were crafted from salvaged material but because of their size, they were somehow so simple and yet ornate. In his blurb, he wrote that he intends to ‘affect a maximum amount of space with a minimal amount of material’. And that’s definitely something I experienced – these teeny tiny artworks filled the whole room.
I also really enjoyed work by Sohee Koo. Again, I was tricked by barely-there materials. The pieces were shreds of transparent materials – Plexiglas, acetate, vinyl. But rather than the materials, it was the shadows that were on show. And as a breeze or bodies moved through the room, the materials changed shapes – distorting the shadows. I love artwork like this that allows every viewer to see something different.
The exhibit also showcased tiny sculptures by Nadia Haji Omar. These were gently crafted pieces from pins, nails and twine and, just as with Donatelle’s work, I was really endeared to their craft and size. Despite being made from scraps, they were beautiful.
I was so impressed with the work and I left smiling. I don’t know where any of the graduates are heading next – but if they have any more shows, I’ll definitely be heading back.
The School of Visual Arts is at 208 E 23rd Street, open weekdays 9-7 and Saturday 10-6. And it’s freeee.