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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Students showcase 3D art designs

Published: March 7, 2013
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

Unveiled to the public eye for the first time, a diverse assemblage of artwork ranging in mediums from sculpture to photography was featured at Dreitzer Gallery. The opening reception incorporated complex three-dimensional sculptures and displays of photographs pertaining to the concept of the sublime amid a wide array of work.

Jessa Modell ’15, a studio art major and one of the students contributing to the work displayed in the gallery, talked about her piece featuring a series of sculpted keys. Toying with titles such as “The Keys to the Campus,” Modell explained her design aesthetic. Asserting her fascination with the subject material, she emphasized the mix of modern and old fashioned keys as the inspiration embedded in her work.

Beyond an aesthetic perspective, Modell’s explanation behind purposefully leaving a single hook empty while the rest bore identical keys, elicits a more complex and meaningful dimension to the piece. She explains the mechanism behind this artistic rendition, saying the missing key signifies literally a door being opened or closed. From a figurative perspective, this points to the metaphorical doors in life and the experiences of opportunity and failure that plague the mind.
Initially, viewers were attracted to the hanging three-dimensional sculptures, which claimed a strong presence in the gallery. Despite the variety of art forms and mediums, Sofia Retta ’15, whose photographs were on display, explained the uniting theme of the gallery to be the sublime. “The experience of the sublime is a little scary and a little horrifying, but incredibly beautiful,” she said.

This intrinsically contradictory nature of the sublime is reflected through Retta’s description of conflicts portrayed within the artwork, such as the simultaneous representation of absence and presence. Although she recognizes that some may regard photography as an exact representation of reality, “By capturing a moment of life, they also make us think of death,” she said.

Focusing on self portraits, Retta says that this is “an incredibly vulnerable form of photography.” She describes the projection of emotional experiences within the visual format and the questioning of the self that is reflected in her work. Using an intriguing spectrum of angles and reflections within her photographs, Retta’s work bears an uneasy quality that pertains to the overarching theme of the sublime.

Majoring in art history with a minor in anthropology, Retta reveals her desire for the implementation of additional photography classes, as there is currently no concentration of study available in the field. Despite the limited scope of study available to students passionate in this field of artistic expression, Retta nevertheless describes the photography professor, Scott Weiner, as a phenomenal mentor, pushing her to complicate her artwork.

As members of the audience strolled through the gallery, they uttered commentary on the various art forms. Sarah Weininger, a senior studio arts major with a concentration in painting, revealed her impressions: “It’s blurring the boundary between different forms of art.” Although sculptures hanging from the ceiling initially command attention, she acknowledges her appreciation for the more subtle variations of sculptures as well, stating, “The ones made just out of cardboard can be just as puzzling.” A carousel constructed entirely of cardboard, created by Jessica Huang, garnered attention from passersby, while other student artists manipulated the medium of wires to construct intricate pieces. In particular, a piece by Shana Namm encapsulated this sense of intricacy, with thicker twisting of wire forming the trunk of a tree, fraying as they reached the branches and roots of the sculpture.

Along the wall of photography, Jacob Jacobowitz’s depiction of a grimy sink evoked a sense of the sublime. A passing viewer commented that his work involved “a dramatic framing of mundane things.”

Hidden at the opposing side of the gallery, student artwork that appeared to be humorous in nature seemed to evade the overarching theme of the sublime. Students created quirky inventions, such as “heelies,” high heels with adjustable heels, a silverware necklace to ensure a fork and spoon would always be on hand, and a foot watch designed to depict the time while your hands are too full carrying objects to check the traditional wrist watch.

Ultimately, the opening reception of the gallery revealed intriguing work created by students in mediums ranging from sculpture to photography. Although not every piece appeared to pertain to the sublime, the effusion of diverse works stimulated viewers’ interest and spoke to the complexities of the art work.