94th Annual Graduate Exhibition
By Kerry Freek
Like Matt did last year, I found the prospect of six floors of art daunting. Later, my weary legs and old-woman knees found it worse. However, this year’s OCAD grad show didn’t disappoint.
Ok, well, yes it did. In exploring six floors of student art, you’re bound to have to sift through a ton of crap to get to the good stuff. But the shiny scraps in this magpie’s collection of style, form and media were definitely not fool’s gold. And I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Amidst all of the (very talented, don’t mistake me) Juxtapoz wannabees, three artists stuck with me, and a few others stayed close, too.
#1: Jesi the Elder’s Satan in the Sonar installation
Sparkles, blow-up killer whales, dollar-store tealights, and religious paraphernalia came together in one mega-threatening exhibit. Surrounded by groupings of altars (of the table and wall-sconce variety), a projector screened a crudely animated mélange that garnered mixed reactions. For instance, when two whales jumped out of the water and crashed into each other, exploding into bits of flesh and floods of blood, the room LOL’d. But when two girls stabbed each other down their throats, blurting guffaws turned to nervous tittering.
#2: Stephen Shaddick’s videos
Clearly, as a 2009 Medal Winner, this Integrated Media student was a show favourite, but he deserved it. Shaddick’s study of time and patience challenged viewers with banal yet infuriating video clips with zero reward (except maybe introspection). One video focused on a pot being brought to boil; another showed repetitious footage of a young man attempting (and failing) to walk across a slippery gate. The best clip, however, was the computer screen restarting ad infinitum. The work prompted laughter (of course), but also caused viewers to become conscious of how they get from one minute to the next, and of how frequently they waste their time and on what.
#3: Chris Kim’s illustrations
Kim’s stylized drawings are characterized by a great command of lines (what patience!), a good sense of humour, and a fair helping of social commentary. Decreased brain activity depicts a family gathered ’round ye olde teevee, except their heads have empty spaces through which the magic box’s light shines. In Lack of true communication, a big mouth blabs over the phone to person standing in front of him/her, but the chatterbox is blinded by the telephone cord that’s wrapped around his/her head. Body shame’s naked body becomes the inside of a closet, hiding behind a rack of clothing attached to its neck-rack. While the messages are somewhat simple, the cheekiness of the images work in Kim’s favour, and the technical achievement (again, those lines) is enough to make anyone stop and take notice.
- Liam Crockard’s angst-ridden Teenage Workshop installation.
- Ryan Lake’s beautifully coloured, imaginative illustrations.
- The person whose name I didn’t catch who did the amazing video-remix-slash-sound-collage of evangelical and sex phone line commercial footage.