Archive for June, 2010

Welcome to the World of Lift Off 2010

Posted by erin on June 5th, 2010


By Sally Sumida

On the last Friday in May, the main gallery of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art was abuzz with excitement from a supportive crowd of art enthusiasts. The occasion was the opening reception for Lift Off 2010, the sixth annual exhibition celebrating MFA graduates from San Jose State University. Seventeen artists created a wide range of artwork highlighting diverse techniques, styles, concepts and media. Curator Susan O’Malley placed them creatively, underscoring their underlying commonalities and interconnections.

Near the entrance to the exhibition, a viewer posed for an unauthorized snapshot inside a shimmering, metal mesh head, artist Hongbiao Wang’s gigantic self-portrait bust. To the right, Pernilla Andersson and Paula Pereira’s large-scale vinyl wall hanging threatens to pull viewers onto an escalator transporting them visually toward an unknown destination. But Kirk Amyx’s visually arresting photo prints of the patterns created by 10,000 overlapping dice rolls in cyan, magenta and yellow, and Wendy Crockett’s evocative gelatin silver photos of an Icelandic teen captured on the brink between childhood and adulthood, served as compelling distractions.

Like paths through the exhibition, themes began to emerge connecting the seemingly disparate pieces. To the left of the entrance, was a poem printed on a scrim suspended from a bamboo pole, a pair of hand-colored photo portraits and a bronze figurine, pieces from Hedwig Heerschop’s corner installation inspired by her father’s World War II experience as a young Dutch soldier in Sumatra. Along the same wall were Barbara Horiuchi’s seven-foot scroll-like hangings, splattered with trails of Japanese black sumi ink and iron filings on white handmade paper. Both Heerschop’s and Horiuchi’s works illuminate familial, historical, and cultural influences in their art.

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