The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

First-Year M.F.A. Exhibition Group 1 Report

The Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) first-year M.F.A. exhibition, Imperfect Ten, on display at the Edwin W. Zoller Gallery, January 14–24, 2013, featured interactive works of art, installation art, ceramics, photography, and more. Imperfect Ten was the first of two group exhibitions by our first-year M.F.A. students. Ten artists, including Nouf Alhamdan, Cassandra Berringer, Jenna Ferraraccio, Gabriel Ibias, Margaret Kinkeade, Jennifer Kirkpatrick, Roberto Lugo, Charles Mankey, Kevin Mercer, and Steven Read, showcased works created throughout their initial year in their major media area. Their creativity creates a foundation of technical and conceptual exploration that will build toward greater mastery of expression and imaginative forms of material thinking. The show's name was selected collaboratively by the exhibiting artists. When the artists met to decide the details of the show, they began discussing how difficult it is to create a name for an exhibit that presents such different bodies of work. Their conversation led to a discussion about a documentary called Beautiful Losers, which depicts a group of artists who were made to believe they were outsiders until they found art. When the artists found what it was they were meant to do, they realized the things that made them imperfect to others were in fact what made them unique; thus, the things that made them insecure were now the things they loved most about themselves. Margaret Kinkeade, one of the exhibiting artists, suggested the show’s name Imperfect Ten in honor of the ten artists who are so very different but find their bond in the beauty of their imperfections. Following are a few brief statements from some of the exhibiting artists: Nouf Alhamdan: The idea for the 20/20 video was inspired by a quote, "God gave me 20/20 fingers," said by a sightless boy in the movie Treasure Blind. Twisting the idea of treating special needs individuals as disabled, the 20/20 fingers video clip presents sightless people as those with an enhanced sense of hearing and touch. Sightless people are compared to owls and fish in terms of the use of their senses as they adapt to life, showing that they are SPECIAL and STRONG. The project is done using a Japanese technique of shadow puppets. Cassie Berringer: The small-carved wood figures are representative of idols. We all have things in our lives that we put all our energy towards and spend most of our money on—things that define who we are and what our goals in life are. Those are our idols. The larger piece is representative and pointing to God, the one who is much greater and less definable than an Idol. Jenna Ferraraccio: The photographs are self-portraits addressing vulnerability and objectification. Gabriel Ibias: Gabriel's piece, titled “L.O.D,” is an interactive artwork based on the idea that places contain memories, and we can access these memories by going back to a place, both in the real and the virtual world. By building a 3D model of a room where he lived from 1988 to 2003, the artist was able to remember things that seemed long forgotten. The construction process was based on a cycle: while creating a 3D model, the artist could access the memories contained in that object, and these memories would then help the artist create the model for other objects in the room. The piece reacts to the viewer’s position utilizing a technique called “level of detail.” Depending on the viewer’s distance, the space represented on the piece starts to deconstruct itself, until it becomes an abstract space represented by simple cubes. In its abstract form, the work presents to the viewers an opportunity to project their own memories into the space, while still retaining the basic shapes of the artist’s original memory. Roberto Lugo: “Oppression” is the story of my brother and me. Growing up in the same house, in the same bedroom. Our lives took us on different paths—he is in prison, and I am in graduate school. I hope to have viewers consider how they see people of poverty. Do we think so little of people that we could imagine using their heads as saucers for our cups? The backdrop and table used for displaying the objects are common threads we identify with people of means. I don't hope to change your mind about how you think, but instead educate you on what exists and hope through this education you may develop a better understanding of what people in the ghetto face. Charles Mankey: My work consists of time-based exposures to create digital photographic prints that attempt to reveal forces in nature that shape and create the landscape. By acknowledging the environment as a beautiful, peaceful unity where all the individual elements work to create a single ecological system, we can understand the fragility inherent within these natural systems. By coming together to protect the natural world, we can all live a more amicable, fulfilling existence. The Edwin W. Zoller Gallery is a non-profit exhibition space dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts and is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. during fall and spring semesters. Zoller Gallery was founded in 1971 and is located in the Visual Arts Building off Curtin Road, adjoining the Palmer Museum of Art on the University Park campus. Public programming at Zoller includes artist lectures, visual art performances, artist residencies, and interdisciplinary events. This facility was named for Edwin W. Zoller in recognition of his dedicated career as an artist and teacher.