The Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University presents Materialists, on view from March 11 to April 27, 2014. This group exhibition showcases the work of eleven second-year graduate students in the Joint Program in Design, a unique collaboration between the Department of Art & Art History and the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Camille Utterback, faculty in Art Practice and curator for the exhibition, explains that, “a common thread connecting these works is that each project results from students’ extended personal investigations. In much of the coursework in the Graduate Design Program, students create broad based design solutions based on need-finding and ethnographic study. With the projects in this show, a more personal investigation and statement is the goal.” Furniture, sculpture, body accouterments, instruments, and installations are on exhibit in Materialists, with many opportunities for visitor engagement.
Heather Kerrick is fascinated by the unexpected direction that her creations can take on once they are seen through the eyes of others. In her piece, Exuberance, guests navigate their way inside a large tent, and with the use of a flashlight, discover thousands of glittering sequins inside. Perpetually curious, Dan Somen spends his time exploring the magic of natural phenomena and how we perceive and react to the physical world around us. The Arc Organ is a study in light, sound, electricity, and the viewer’s response to these stimuli in context.
Gabrielle Guthrie is interested in the stories behind objects and other ways of making the invisible visible. Guthrie’s piece, Ingrid Bergman, allows visitors to caress a silicone earlobe, recalling a small yet strongly affectionate moment between lovers. Wei Li believes that creating beautiful things is a noble cause. In her photography series, Grasp, Li explores affordances and hand interactions while employing bold colors and simple objects.
With her strong interest in how design can impact culture and behavior, Rupa Chaturvedi’s installation, The Golden House, offers viewers the opportunity to interact with light, structure and the space between. Brandon Cheung focuses on the bridge between digital and physical space, as well as the human-machine interaction. Gallery visitors are encouraged to engage with Cheung’s work by finding their own heartbeats.
Xander Bremer believes that the soul of design lies in the creation of the thing, not in the artifact. In Materialists, Bremer shows his Swoop Chair, an original cantilever chair design that was built from custom-laminated cherry veneer. Kevin McElroy’s Dish, is crafted from salvaged wood and stands strong and tall like a totem to the leftovers of modern society. In Low Res Mirror, Jamaal Montasser investigates the concept of patience and simplicity with a laptop and large monitor spewing psychedelic colors.
Julie Shryne presents Hidden in Plain Sight, an acrylic sculpture that reimagines the laundry basket in a way that accommodates what Shryne thinks people typically do – stage our clothes according to their level of cleanliness, draped and piled in our rooms. David Bordow plays with perspectives and perception and in his piece, Drowned, he explores another common household fixture – the bathtub.