The Crying Child
School of Visual Arts presents “The Crying Child,” featuring work by first-year MFA Illustration as Visual Essay students enrolled in the Book Seminar course. Curated by faculty member Viktor Koen, the exhibition is on view Friday, February 6 through Saturday, February 28 at the SVA Gramercy Gallery, 209 East 23rd Street, New York City. Admission is free and open to the public.
The work in this exhibition was inspired by Bruce McAllister’s short story “The Crying Child,” a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award.
“This suspenseful coming-of-age story,” says Koen, “blends the Cold War atmosphere in Italy, a family scared by the dramatic loss of a child, losing a pet, and a legendary ominous village where, like a hydra, every riddle answered only causes a multitude of questions. The mystery-infused plot unfolds in a time and place that required research as a source of inspiration instead of the overbearing need for historical accuracy.”
Annie Bowler explores her own experiences growing up during the period between her mother’s cancer diagnoses and death ten years later.
Lys Bui’s Cicio is part of a series that uses harmony and repetition to illustrate the whimsical enigma of the story.
Mikayla Butchart depicts the Ace of Coins, part of the playing card set that propels the protagonist’s action in “The Crying Child.”
Diego Cadena’s illustrated triptych recreates a scene from the story, with a close-up of a character and panels that reveal the atmosphere of the scene.
Joe Casanova chose key moments from the story and imagines them as a series of cinematic scenes.
Susan Coyne explores the hidden and world of dog fighting, from inhumane conditions to training equipment and techniques to the culmination of that training in the ring.
Chioma Ebinama re-imagines the culture of death, with its rituals, customs and ideologies, as a contemporary practice through the form of a fashion/lifestyle journal.
Jon Guinn’s series of illustrations depict characters and scenes from “The Crying Child” in the format of comic book covers.
Claire Merchlinsky presents “The Crying Child” as a fully illustrated book. The 14 images represent the entire story in a horizontal, seamless format specifically created for web-based display.
Robin Mork created a series of postcards from ghost towns around the world. Like Magusa, the story’s seemingly empty yet inhabited town, these places have a pull for those who encounter them.
Liam O’Donnell offers 12 illustrations that articulate the story’s characters and narrative while referencing propaganda imagery from the Cold War.
John Lee’s digital narrative series follows a family of Chinese immigrants who settle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II and the difficult choices they make in protecting their own.
S.Y. Lee’s ink and digital work “Atheism” explores the universal fear of death and the allure of immortality.
Suyoun Caroline Lee presents a humorous view of “The Crying Child” by reversing the characters’ species—humans become canine and vice versa.
Jeff Lowry explored elements of the story by illustrating them in a diagrammatical, almost scientific way.
Joowon Oh’s silkscreen prints illustrate five unique rituals of various cultures around the world.
Daniel Pagan presents “Doomsday,” a series of ink and digital illustrations in which the figures in the foreground are oblivious to the devastating calamity in the background.
Amelia Rosales taps into her native Columbian society to express what it means to be a mother and the struggle to find a balance between having a life and having children.
Vesper Stamper looks to the aging and decline of her grandmother to explore what it means to reside in a space, or a mind, but not inhabit it—and the human soul when detached from a physical or spiritual home.
Jackie Tam’s “The Dark Hedges” depicts ancient cities and natural landmarks in which elements of folklore and myth are woven into their naturalistic settings.
Koen says, “The project afforded the opportunity to tell very personal stories through a vast range of formats ranging from posters to playing cards, and applications from silk apparel to interactive viewing on screen. This wealth of variations and thematic departures illustrates how mystery writing can trigger strong images in immediate, associational levels while staying connected to the story in form, direction or spirit. In short, it can rattle the creative mind in ways that very few genres manage to do. Mr. McAllister’s rich, layered writing provided multiple directions to be explored. The story’s basic components are familiar yet distant enough to give elbow room for poetic license—a balancing act between dark fiction and its parallels in everyday life.”
MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay at SVA is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of digital, print and online media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.