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Graduates everywhere – a roundup of spring student shows!


This year’s graduates of area BFA and MFA programs displayed their works all over town the last few months.  The group exhibits showed the young artists to be continuing the trends we’ve seen now for a while:  performance videos; videos in general; outsider-influenced drawing and painting; photos that play with concepts of reality; and finely-crafted sculpture (some of it made to look gloppy and not so finely crafted).  Here’s a picture post for you, in case you missed the shows. We saw exhibits from: University of Pennsylvania, University of the Arts, Tyler School of Art, Moore College of Art and Design, PAFA, University of Delaware.

Jayson Scott Musson, from the Penn MFA thesis show at the Icebox.

University of Pennsylvania MFA show at the Icebox

Penn has a graduating class of 22 students.  And while internet bad boy commentator Hennessy Youngman is not one of them, his alter ego, Jayson Scott Musson, is.  And Jayson showed real live sculptures and a textile piece that is convincing abstract art–with a bit of a wink! Like Hennessey himself, his works poke fun at art and society at the same time that they are pretty typical examples of contemporary art.

Martha Rich, drawing from the Penn MFA show

Martha Rich’s weird, nuclear-tinged silhouettes, which covered a wall at the Penn show, feel both satisfying graphically, and have social commentary we like.  There’s a ghostly cocktail party atmosphere suggested where the emotional weight is carried by peoples’ teeth in forced smiles –and those bright orange edges–harbingers of irradiation as well as descendents of Warholian Pop.

5 into 1 at Moore College of Art and Design

Detail of Tyler Kline’s sculptural creature, in the 5 into 1 exhibit

5 into 1, organized annually by Philadelphia Sculptors, rounds up graduating students from 5 art schools, Moore, UArts, PAFA, Tyler and Penn.  Tyler Kline, a PAFA MFA, has a wonderful tusked and wig-askew creature in the show that stands on precarious legs instead of a pedestal.  We didn’t “get” that there was a face until we studied closely.

Tyler Held, whose work is also in the 5 into 1 show, seen here at his UArts senior thesis show.

UArts grad, Tyler Held, showed his tricked out stove-cum-boom box, “Cross Current” in the show.  Held told us he and his UArts classmates in painting, sculpture and printmaking were going to be taking over the Crane Icebox for one night only — Friday, June 3 — to show their works.  Held was looking forward to placing his basketball hoop/tv static piece high on the Icebox’s 13 ft. tall walls.

Maxi Eisenmann’s wall of goodies at 5 into 1

We loved Maxi Eisenmann’s overfilled and outsidery wall of stuff!  Eisenmann is a Tyler MFA. (Can you believe it, three Tylers in one show!)

Others in this show are  Kelly McGovern and Laurel Patterson (Moore), Colin O’Neill (UArts) Tom Yurkovic (PAFA), Jim Shomo (Tyler), and Rachel Eschenbach and Jessica Vaughn (Penn).

University of Delaware MFA show

Matt Giel’s endless landscape printed on a roll of paper, at the University of Delaware MFA show
Matt Giel’s self-portrait as a drape over a chair

Eight graduates are in Delaware‘s MFA show at the UDel gallery in the Crane this year.  Matt Giel’s self-portrait photograph, which draped itself over a folding chair like a very thin Gumby, seemed to us to epitomize the state of restless inquiry going on in photography these days.  Giel’s sculptural photographs also feel like new strategies that open up other ideas about the role of image in our tricky 21st century.

Daniel Jackson, Nocturne

Daniel Jackson packs wit and social commentary into what pass for genre paintings at first blush.


We saw PAFA‘s show but didn’t get pictures, except we did get some off of Tyler Kline’s bronze towers of Babel, which had faux teeth in them that seemed glued together with globs of wax.

Tyler School of Art

Stuart Lorimer’s large paintings

Stuart Lorimer’s paintings at Woot!, the Tyler group MFA show, seem to talk with Tyler Kline’s sculptures in their combination of abstraction and figuration and their suggestion of the unexplained and mystical.

Matt Ziemke, Stepping Down, detail

And Matt Ziemke’s mixed media sculptures of uncontrollable substances in the craftsman’s workshop makes us think of Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, beating back chaos with his little broom.

Moore College of Art and Design

Rachel Luthy, at Moore College of Art and Design’s senior thesis show

The Moore College senior thesis show was packed for the closing reception when we saw it.  Lots of awards were handed out and a Moore administrator told us that Rachel Luthy’s piece was snapped up at the opening by two art lovers who had never before attended the Moore student show but were smitten by Rachel’s work and had just the right place to put it!  Kismet.

University of the Arts senior thesis show

Geovanny Arias Reynolds
Geovanny Arias-Reynolds, at the University of the Arts senior thesis show

We missed the performance by Geovanny Arias-Reynolds, one of many at the UArts senior show.  But the young artist was there and happily posed with his works, which included this great knit tent/apparel piece.  We love the yellow makeup on his forehead.  Arias-Reynolds also had prints he was showing and an interactive piece that asked the viewer to write down a wish and put it in a little receptacle.  The artist would pray for the wish to come true.

Prayer and other forms of magic are tactics for times of hopelessness and upheaval. There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on!