Volume 91, Issue 96

Tuesday, March 31, 1998



Pointing fingers at everyday art

By Christina Vardanis
Gazette Staff

They say the human's opposable thumb is what separated primates and eventually mankind from the evolutionary path of the animal kingdom. If one thumb can equal greatness in the population of living organisms, imagine what 36 thumbs, accompanied by 144 fingers, can equal among the population of Western?

Welcome to 180 fingers, an exhibition of projects from the graduating class of Fine Arts. Although the title suggests the collective works of 18 people's hands, this show is a tribute to 18 individual minds, each expressing their own representation of our funny little world.

The majority of the works dabble with multi-media experimentation, creating beauty and evoking emotion with everyday objects the rest of us knuckle-draggers would kick by the curb. Terry Rice's "Average Boy Project" is a touch of popculture with a larger societal observation.

Colour photocopies of the 'average boy' are posted on name tags, beer bottles, Band-Aid boxes and ear-plugs. Through the use of average objects and the 'average boy' as an emblem for societal monochromy, Rice cleverly emphasizes the shallowness and fear of 'living' that plagues the pressure-cooking monotony of the '90s.

In another multi-media effort, Alison Middaugh creates a virtual super-nova of colour using old clothes and objects she literally found along the road. The presentation of the materials creates a massive thrift-store garden, which, in one fell swoop walks you through memories of childhood, adolescence and right smack into adulthood.

Dolly, the famous love-sheep of two Scottish petri dishes captured the attention of Kelli Brady, who translated the recent public fascination with DNA into a series of photographs and charcoal works. Black and white pictures of her family are framed within transparencies and hung in a grid, allowing the eye to superimpose faces onto one another and get an idea of what their genes could create. The grid is juxtaposed with enlarged sketches of individual portraits, as an insightful answer to the 'who-made-who' game.

Other works incorporate building blocks and a language created with shapes, earthy displays of plywood meshed with glass and inkblot-like photography that acts as a frightening, yet equally enlightening eye to the soul.

The diversity of theme and presentation is the strength of 180 fingers, as it gives viewers a peek at what makes each of these graduating students tick after years of theory and practice.

The program, team-taught by Patrick Mahon and Colette Urban, emphasizes student participation and cohesion while allowing for individual expression and creativity. This provocative exhibition is definitive proof that 18 hands are better than one.

180 fingers is on display simultaneously at the ArtLab and the McIntosh Gallery until April 10.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998