School of Visual Arts presents “Becoming Shades,” an exhibition of works by SVA students selected by a jury of their peers. Organized by SVA Galleries, “Becoming Shades” is on view Friday, March 24 through Saturday, April 8, at the SVA Flatiron Gallery, 133/141 West 21st Street, New York City.
“Becoming Shades,” titled after a passage from James Joyce’s novella The Dead, brings together a selection of works that demonstrate the commitment made by artists studying at SVA to confront challenging personal and political subject matter and to uphold the significance of creative expression in a time of political upheaval. Some of the works emanate from an internal, personal standpoint to explore inner conflict, familial mysteries and the development of selfhood. Some are more explicitly political in their representation of the protests at Standing Rock, attendees of the 2016 Democratic National Convention and portraits of individual members of ISIS (ISIL). Painted and photographic portraiture feature prominently in this exhibition, along with video and sculptural installations dealing with issues of selfhood and identity as they relate to the tumult and tenuousness of collective experience, especially in times of crisis.
Participating artists include Razan Alsarraf, Brittany Cassell, Christopher Janaro, Francena Ottley, Grace Spencer, Vanessa Teran Collantes, Ana Paula Tizzi, Prang Vejjajiva and Josh M. G. Yates.
Kuwaiti-born painter Razan Alsarraf (BFA Fine Arts) presents a series of 50 portraits of members of ISIS, culled from internet sources, in order to provoke a dialogue about terrorism in the Middle East.
Brittany Cassell (MFA Fine Arts) combines pan-African folk traditions with western modes of pictorial representation in her paintings of women of color in order to “re-see the black experience and that of womanhood.”
Christopher Janaro’s (MFA Photography, Video and Related Media) series of photographs taken during the course of the 2016 American presidential election reflect the disillusionment felt by many liberals in the wake of apparent inner party corruption.
Francena Ottley (BFA Photography and Video) presents “This Is for You,” a video installation promoting black female empowerment.
In a series of portraits taken on site in Havana, Cuba, Grace Spencer (BFA Photography and Video) presents images of spontaneous human connection.
Vanessa Teran Collantes’s (BFA Photography and Video) photographic installation presents portraits and visual symbols from the movement to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock.
Ana Paula Tizzi (MPS Digital Photography) explores the mythology and mystery surrounding twin relationships and connected identity through a set of portraits of her mother and aunt, who are identical twins.
Prang Vejjajiva (MFA Fine Arts) uses paintings of cats as a template through which to respond to her personal experiences and to explore inner conflicts between light and dark, happiness and melancholia, tender and grotesque, and salty and sweet.
Through painting and sculptural installation, Josh M. G. Yates (MFA Fine Arts) constructs visual representations of the Jungian concept of “the self” as it relates to and is defined by ritual practices.
Juried exhibitions are a way for SVA’s student body to recognize the achievements of their classmates. Artists are selected from a large pool of applicants through a rigorous examination of presented materials, including documentation of work and artist statements.