Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:45 a.m.
A still from Burden of Royalty by Susannah Bielak
The "2012/13 Jerome Emerging Artist Exhibition" opened at MCAD a little more than a week ago. The show boasts an impressive group of artists, including Amanda Hankerson, Michael Hoyt, Melissa Loop, and Lauren Roche.
Some of the most riveting works in the show come from Susannah Bielak, whose multimedia project draws inspiration from the wind and includes video work, diagrams, and "breath drawings" depicting ventifacts (rocks formed by the wind). Bielak collaborated with a number of individuals and groups for the project, such as dance companies Hijack and Black Label Movement, rodeo cowboy Filemon Jarra Jr., video artist Kevin Obsatz, and writer Fred Shmalz.
Photo from Susannah Bielak's Blown Blind (Vientos)
Blown Blind (Vientos), made with Hijack and Kevin Obsatz, features Kristin Van Loon dressed in a simple white T-shirt and pants. She stands completely still as a long, printed piece of paper attached near her neck begins to blow up and all around her. The wind is quite strong, and almost seems ferocious as it flies around her face, contrasting with her utter stillness. The other Hijack video collaboration features Arwen Wilder reading text aloud into a fan.
Bielak's other two videos are shown together in a small room with the screens adjacent to each other at a 90-degree angle. In one video, Filemon Jarra Jr. shows off his lasso moves while in the other a dancer from Black Label Movement stands in the center of a circle of dancers lying down and raising their arms and legs, sometimes leaving the ground at the beckoning of the central figure. Unlike the two Hijack videos that play with wind that's being created by a fan, the collaborations with Jarra Jr. and Black Label movement are creating a kind of interpretation of wind, or at least movements or actions that are wind-like.
Woman Riding a Horse by Lauren Roche
Photo courtesy MCAD
Lauren Roche, another artist featured in the exhibition, displays a large number of disturbing mixed-media portraits. Roche's works are dark, full of nightmarish images with spotted bodies, painted faces, animal heads, and blood pouring out of eyes. The violent and sexual images, while not realistic, instill panic just viewing them -- like being in a dream you can't escape. It's very powerful stuff.
Also in the show are the works of Amanda Hankerson, who presents a series of photographic portraits of people who share her last name, and Michael Hoyt, who presents a series of drawings he's created while traveling to parks, basketball courts, and soccer fields with his mobile drawing station, called One Another. Both Hankerson and Hoyt seem to be striving to make connections with strangers by using art to bring people together but also in celebrating diversity.
Finally, there's Melissa Loop's surreal paintings of an island she visited and later re-created from memory. The pieces are brightly colored, at times so much so that the color seems out of place. It's as if it were being remembered in a dream. A number of the paintings also have streaks where the paint has dribbled down, adding to the blurriness of the memory and the image.