On Wednesday, April 5, Zilkha Gallery held the first batch of senior visual arts thesis exhibitions for the Class of 2017. The works of five seniors, Kai Blatt, Hadley Feingold, Tessa Houstoun, Max Levine, and Zander Porter were shown. Their work will be exhibited in Zilkha until April 9, when the space will be reconfigured for next week’s thesis reception.
All five artists approached their projects from wildly diverse angles, with genres ranging from sculpture to sensorily immersive video art. At the reception, students flitted from the silkscreened representations of the city of Los Angeles in Blatt’s “L.A.” to Feingold’s suspended sculptures that played with memory and its relationship to texture.
“My piece explores concepts of the body and how that can be similar to landscape, by recontextualizing materials and pairing them with memories,” said Feingold.
Her piece incorporated more masculine materials such as concrete, with fabric draped and suspended around, creating sculpture that was dynamic, hard, and soft at once.
Tessa Houstoun’s “A light here required a shadow there” featured a series of white window panels. A broken panel stood in the middle of the space, letting light in.
“My project featured a lot of study of light cast through windows, with wax as the material,” said Houstoun. “It’s titled after the Virginia Woolf book, that spoke to my process throughout.”
Max Levine’s “Trees are Beautiful” posited the material of wood as natural, rigid, but unexpectedly pliable in his wall mounted sculpture. In his studio, he designed a machine that hinged the thin pieces of oak at graceful angles, making for soft curvature throughout the sculpture that one might not expect from wood.
Zander Porter’s “I’m your pixelpleasure” took up its own darkened room in the exhibition, with interactive video screens, blown up furniture, and an intentional lavender vanilla fragrance that provided for a fully immersive experience of the senses.
“Part of what my piece looks at is the duality of the reality versus fake,” said Porter. “Reality can be real world, but also reality TV. Fake can mean plastic or even a gender.”
Next week’s reception, which will take place at 4 p.m. in Zilkha on April 12, will showcase the works of five more seniors: Cam Arkin, Jiaqi Maria Ma, Silas Newman, Sarah Prickett, and Lydia Tonkonow.