School of Visual Arts presents “Constellations,” an exhibition of works by SVA students and recent graduates selected by a jury of their peers. Organized by SVA Galleries, “Constellations” is on view Saturday, July 21, through Saturday, August 11, at the SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor, New York City.
“Constellations” comes from the sociological theory of intersectionality, asserting that all elements of identity—most notably gender, sexuality, race and class—are interwoven. Each marker cannot be fully understood without acknowledging the contextualizing factors surrounding it. The students in this exhibition utilize the multiplicities within identity to create personal yet socially engaged work. Connecting many points across space, these artists explore the complexity and composite nature of human experience.
Rina AC Dweck (MFA Fine Arts) transforms readymade, found objects to illustrate her diasporic Jewish origins, balancing and containing multiple histories and traditions as an American individual with global roots.
Mia Sweeney Gahrmann (BFA Photography and Video) frames her subjects’ self-identified vulnerabilities as strengths rather than weaknesses, making them the focal point of her dynamic black-and-white photographs.
Julianna Ham’s (BFA Visual & Critical Studies) sculptures combine her position as a child of working-class immigrant parents with her active participation in artist communities, exploring labor and what it means to work as a form of social and economic capital.
Isabel Llaguno (MFA Fine Arts) uses currency as material, reflecting upon Ecuadorian society’s collective trauma after losing monetary sovereignty and adopting the American dollar in 2000.
Malkah Manouel’s (BFA Photography and Video) documentary images consider her relation to stereotypes and identity as a first-generation American within a community of Persian-Jewish immigrants.
Brittney Najar (BFA Visual & Critical Studies) presents photographs of a cathartic performance where she and her grandmother style each other based on their own generational perspectives on femininity.
Ka Yu (Ellie) Ng (BFA Illustration) expresses her perceptions of self and the difficulty of sharing feelings with others through acrylic and oil portraiture.
Francena Ottley (BFA Photography and Video) pulls from gender, race, sexuality, femininity and representation to create immersive installations, elevating ideas around black femininity and identity while simultaneously defying stereotypes and biases.
John Rivas (BFA Fine Arts) incorporates his family, roots, surroundings and everyday life as a Latino man living in Newark, New Jersey, into mixed-media paintings made from old disposable camera pictures.
Chelsea Rust (BFA Illustration) uses “kawaii”-inspired elements in her kaleidoscopic paintings to shape characters and confront their relationships to others as viewed through a smeared spectrum of identity.
Max Sarmiento (MFA Fine Arts) paints stories that explore and contextualize his own Ecuadorian roots, as well as the immigrant cultures and histories of those in his New York City neighborhood.
Zac Thompson (MFA Fine Arts) examines romantic love, heteronormativity and the institution of marriage through collage, site-specific charcoal drawings, sculpture and Risograph prints.
S. von Puttkammer (BFA Fine Arts) shares selections from the project “Dear Gustave,” a fictional narrative of a mother who paints her child in the style of Courbet as he grows up without his father.
Hanna Washburn (MFA Fine Arts) creates work made entirely from clothing, mostly her own, which she uses to investigate cultural constructions of femininity and the female body.
Dodo Zhang (MFA Photography, Video and Related Media) questions what it means to be an Asian woman by constructing and photographing hyper-sexualized characters that both push and pull against notions of traditional beauty and femininity.
Fan Zhang (MPS Digital Photography) uses self-portraiture to symbolically represent conflict between her dreams and destiny, between the pressures to conform to tradition by friends and family in her native Beijing and her own independence.
Jo Zixuan Zhou (BFA Illustration) communicates feelings of depression through emotive drawings and paintings, sharing her own struggles with mental health while being an artist.
Juried exhibitions are a way for SVA students to recognize the achievements of their most distinguished classmates. Artists are selected from a large pool of applicants to the annual SVA Galleries call for entries, whose submissions undergo a rigorous examination of presented materials, including documentation of work and artist statements.