Saanich News Contributor
With the end of the school year approaching, the long white hallways of the UVic Visual Arts Building are bustling with activity. It is being readied for the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Grad Show, a chance for 38 departing undergraduate students to showcase their best work. Titled “Iterations” and opening this Friday April 15 at 7 p.m., the preparations are a massive undertaking.
“It’s a slow process at first…and then these last few weeks are really intense because [students] have to gut the building of all of its furniture and put them in these other spaces, patch and paint all the walls, basically turn studio space into gallery space and that’s a huge amount of work,” said Megan Dickie assistant professor of sculpture in the UVic Visual Arts department.
As the curators, Dickie and another professor, Robert Youds, will then walk through the space and rearrange works to ensure that rooms are not too heavily weighted towards a particular thematic or visual theme. “You don’t want too much similar looking things in a room because they water each other down, either visually or conceptually.”
The exhibition features a wide variety of work, including paintings; photographs; selfies from Instagram painstakingly rendered in blue ballpoint pen, individual strands of hair tied into bows, interactive sculptures utilizing Arduino components, and many others.
Hollis Roberts, a sculptor, photographer, and president of the Visual Arts Students Association, noticed an uptick in video art and sculpture this year. She said the theme and intent of the works are frequently influenced by the artist’s academic minor, be it art history, gender studies, or whatever else.
Roberts herself will be presenting Sometimes: a series of three fabric and steel sculptures meant to contrast the feminine and the masculine and critique gender norms. In each piece, different coloured fabrics are woven together and pulled tightly across a steel frame. Roberts typically only works with steel, but including fabric led to a surprising but thematically relevant development.
“It was a surprise to me that the fabric took over the steel and bent it,” she said.
Dickie says it is a chance for students to get a taste of life as a practising artist and experience the stress of putting on a show, but also to gauge the reaction of the public.
“It’s not that you have to be involved in contemporary art to understand the work, you just have to be willing to invest, view, and experience, that’s also a great reward.”