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Student-Curated Show Opens

Student-Curated Show Opens

: Photo by Mark Bocek.

Open Call, the open show for Cornish art students, used to be a free-for-all refereed by faculty; this year it’s curated — by the students.

PICTURE: Sam Whalen and the “black-and-white” wall; photo by Mark Bocek. In the background, near to far: Aiko Szymczak Malfunction, photo print (2 pieces); Marissa Sohn, Untitled, print; Annieo Klaas, The Hole and the Hand, oil and polyurethane on wood; and Jasmine Gervais, Untitled, acrylic on panel.

According to Samantha Whalen, the open shows of recent years were chaotic. “Everyone just rushed in and stuck all the pieces they could on the walls wherever was free,” she says. These were annual in-house show for all the fine art students who cared to participate. This year, students and faculty decided to do things a different way, going the route of curation. More than that, the show’s curators were students. The show was given a new name, too: Open Call.

Samantha Whalen [AR ’13] headed the student curation effort, along with fellow members of the Cornish Student Curators Group, Couilette Powell, Kailyn Neidetcher [AR ’16], Makena Gadient [AR ’16], Emily Joseph [AR ’13]. “I had … an incredible amount of support from Cable Griffith, Ephraim Russell, and Bob Campbell,” says Whalen of the faculty members who helped get the show going.

“The opportunity to curate a show offers our students the chance the deepen their understanding of art,” says Cable Griffith, Exhibitions Curator for Cornish and adjunct faculty member. “They get to step back and see their work in a wider context.”

Open Call is a completely re-imagined student show, replacing the Roll Call of the past,” continues Griffith. “Open Call was designed, organized, and installed by the Student Curator’s Group … . Since last fall, the group met and brainstormed ideas to facilitate a fair and balanced approach to exhibiting an inclusive show, while maintaining high standards.”

Under the new process the Student Curators Group developed, every student in every year is invited to submit up to three pieces for the show. A jury composed of fellow students from their own graduating year chooses one of the three piece for display.  These selected works were hung together, merging all years in a group exhibition, “curated with an intention to celebrate shared themes and diverse methods.”

The curators hung the show along thematic, size and color lines without mention of graduation years. “There are no classes listed on the labels,” says Sam Whalen. “I didn’t want to create a divide in the different levels of development but instead emphasize that we are all artists and all apart of the greater cornish art community as a whole. I think that without the class year listed, people can appreciate the work without trying to place the student on some sort of linear scale of progress.”

Sam Whalen, who graduates this spring, has curatorial experience, most recently with the school’s Closet Gallery.  She is currently seeking a fellowship, in preparation for graduate work.

Featured in the show are works by: Aiko Szymczak, Alicia Hatfield, Ana Duenes, Andrew Tertocha, Annieo Klaas, Ashleigh Robb, Benton Fraser, Bobbie Brandon, Bristol Hayward Hughes, Brooke Jacobovitz, Caitlin Brookins, Cameron Fletcher, Carlene Page, Claire Green, Destiny Reidel, Diego Suarez, Emily Epperson, Fritz Rodriguez, Gabriel Reyes, Kaylee Jacobson, Kristian Gursli, Makena Gadient, Malcolm Moran, Margeaux Kliewer, Marissa Sohn, Megan Wyma, Michelle Domanowski, Miles Toland, Niki Goldberg, Peru Angela Gilham, Sean Sullivan, Shyla Carter-Braxtan, Stefan Gonzales, Tasha Mathews, and Teocalli Cruz.

Open Call runs through February 8 with most works on the sixth floor of the MCC, and some “special needs” pieces on Floor 2.

A highlight of Open Call was the triptych RGB by Miles Toland shown in the embedded video below, video because of its changing light. Fun fact: Sam Whalen was the model for the middle canvas.

RGB-Miles-Toland from Cornish College of the Arts on Vimeo.


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