Volume 92, Issue 65

Friday, January 22, 1999


The Concrete Beat

Articulating one's own space

Western grad robbing the spotlight

Rainy Day bound for glory

Sociopath star of new comedy

Dubbing new electronic barriers

Redman da man for Def Jam

Celebrity sightings


Articulating one's own space

©Photos by Michael Longstaff/Gazette

FINDING A SPACE TO CALL YOUR OWN. The John Labatt ArtLab is holding the Open Studio exhibit until this Friday.

By Christina Vardanis

Gazette Staff

In the John Labatt Visual Arts Building ArtLab, students have been given a certain amount of space and are trying to make it their own.

The ArtLab is divided into four quadrants for the Open Studio, on display until next Friday. Students own an area for one to five days and are responsible for creating their own show. When their time is up, the space becomes empty and ready for a new inhabitant.

Although the design of the exhibition may seem unorganized, there is method behind the madness. By giving students complete control over their space, the show becomes about experimentation, with both art and the curating process.

Currently showing in the ArtLab is the work of two individual students and a group project, which are all extremely different in their media and presentation.

Suzanna Baczynski chose to surround those who visit her space with oil and acrylic paintings, dominated by vibrant colours. One wall shares two paintings of the same female form image, which experiments with the effects of size and colour. The first one predominantly uses yellows, oranges and gold, creating an effect of innocence and dawning. The second one is smaller and uses darker colours, accented by flesh tones. Baczynski effectively creates a dreamlike quality surrounding the first, while an earthly aura trails the second.

Her other works include a massive, detailed portrait of two children and an adult playing at the beach. In this last work, Baczynski blurs the line between the water and the sky, which allows the subjects of the work to stand out. Human emotion then becomes the focus of the painting, instead of the scenery.

The group exhibit consists of a series of white blocks, graduating in size from small to large and culminating in a wall. Lightly sketched forms of children are on the graduating blocks, while pencil outlines of adult forms lie along the wall.

A measuring tape also hangs on the wall with a pencil, inviting those who visit the exhibit to measure up with the rest of them. A soundtrack of a children's classroom plays in the background and a large tarp of plastic covers the entire show, following the line of blocks, tapering at the end with the smallest ones.

The tarp is what makes this work accessible. The viewer enters the tunnel from either end, starting at childhood and moving forward, or beginning at adulthood and taking a stroll back. The outlines of the adults are faceless and generic, allowing the observer to place themselves within the context of the work.

In another quadrant, Brandon Leudke emphasizes the process of art by using his space as a workroom for his current project. Leudke is creating a 15 foot milk carton made out of cardboard and wood to make a statement about critical thought and the importance of investigation. He researched the facts on milk and milk products and found questionable information on the benefits of the product, despite its "golden image" advertising.

His space is filled with supplies, tools, wood shavings and one lone milk carton serving as a model. Leudke works on his project daily, allowing the process of art to become the performance.

The strength of any show relies on the effective combination of both the artist and curator. By allowing these students to control both aspects, their drive and imagination is what dominates the exhibition and brings with it an energy which can do nothing less than inspire others.

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