Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Berkeley MFA Exhibit 2007

Note: This exhibit is scheduled to close on 6/10/07.

There are seven artists in UC Berkeley’s current MFA exhibition. From this varied group, I will highlight two. In a series of small works on paper, Jenifer Wofford depicts the world of Filipina nurses who (like her mother) left the Philippines to work abroad. These women provide intimate care in a world where they feel alien and invisible.

The images are rendered in a crisp, economical manner using acrylic and gouache. The style is informed by comics, though the panels are not laid out as a specific story. Rather, they invite the viewer to absorb an implied narrative. Examples of this work are shown above and below.

Joe McKay presents a series of urban landscape photos that have been expertly manipulated (via Photoshop) in a particular way. The original photos contained tall street lights. He has removed the light poles and left the tops, the luminaries, floating like UFOs.. Below are three examples of these delightful UFOs (images from the artist’s website).

In addition, McKay presents a looping video, upside down, of the underside of a freeway interchange in Oakland. (Photo below.) This little work is strangely compelling, and an excerpt can be viewed on the artist’s website.

The MFA exhibit is held in the Berkeley Art Museum, where there are a number of other exhibits of interest, starting on the ground floor.


NecroDoll said...

Love ur blog.

Anonymous said...

Striking stuff. Thanks for spreading the word. Interesting that Berkeley students (known for radicalism) are producing such accessible contemporary art.

Bob said...

Actually, Berkeley's students haven't been radical for decades. Of course, the radical era retains its caché. A few years ago, for example, the campus opened a Free Speech Cafe for the students. I laughed until I cried.

The artwork produced in Berkeley's small studio MFA program is sometimes "accessible," sometimes not. In this year's show, perhaps the least accessible work is that by Alicia McCarthy. Yet she had admirers and a dealer (a good one) well before entering the program. So the term "accessible" is slippery.

Anonymous said...

Undoubtedly slippery. But what's pictured above could hardly be called avant garde. As an undergraduate program, Cal represents a kind of academic machinery. 'Boomers rebelled against it, then promptly sent their kids there once the drugs wore off.

Grad school, of course, is another matter - but I would imagine the history of the institution still exerts some influence even on (especially on?) its graduate students in art...

No psychedelia here. Still, all interesting pieces.