I was really amazed by the work shown at the Anderson Gallery during the undergraduate exhibition. I actually got really emotional as I walked around exploring the exhibit – I’m so proud of my school and so grateful to be a part of such a great program! Seeing such affecting and interesting work done by students speaks not just to the artists’ talent but also to the value of the program that they are in. I’m so lucky to be a part of an art school that pushes its students like this and inspires such complex and thoughtful work.
I was interested to see work from Art Foundation, since I’m completing AFO this semester, and I loved seeing the wide variety of work from AFO students. I know that every professor in AFO teaches differently and assigns different prompts, so it would be easy to assume that the differences in the work are a direct result of that. However, knowing some of the assignments that these works were born out of, I could tell that in some cases the student really ran with the prompt and created an innovative work all on their own. I know that Neo Zhang’s large acrylic painting, which I believe was the only AFO piece featured in the first room of the exhibition, was a response to the assignment of creating a self-portrait that included an abstraction. Neo’s painting went above and beyond this assignment to become an amazing piece in its own right, and I can see why it was featured so prominently in the show.
Moving past the AFO pieces, I continued to be amazed by the wide variety of work that VCUarts students had created. In addition to every traditional format I could imagine, there were many less conventional presentations – a photograph of floodwaters framed with wood from a ruined house; a large-scale installation using jello and Playboy magazines; an installation using light and sound. I was very impressed with the way that VCU students pushed and overstepped traditional boundaries to create innovative and meaningful work.