Friday, August 22, 2008

the show never stops

The summer's over?!

Today was the last day of the summer program. It has been bittersweet - lots of goodbyes and reflections on the experiences of the summer. Yesterday was the final exhibition of the summer program, which was a three hour-long art showing with food, art and lots of people. The gallery space of the EpiCenter was filled with work from the last several weeks, art of all kinds in every corner, wall, and nook.

On the mezzanine, the flat screen TV showed some videos that had been created by the video studio this summer. Viewers lounged on the same couches that had been used by the teenagers as their editing studio to see “Where the Hell is Felix?” and “The Making of Where the Hell is Felix”; two short videos starring members of AFH. Nearby were the large printouts of the photography studio’s self-portraits. Don’t confuse “self-portrait” with a simple picture of a human: there was a lot more than the physical appearance of these teenagers captured in their images. There was also the contribution from the graphics studio on the mezzanine: a large group portrait painting labeled “Artists for Helvetica”. (Only it wasn’t in Helvetica.)

On the floor, viewers could quickly become overwhelmed by the variety of the collection. Architecture staked out the center of the space with displays of a possible addition to the AFH building. These concepts were shown in technical drawings as well as scaled models. Sculptures featured ice melting as well as shredded money (not to mention the classic ReVision tables). The fashion studio claimed a corner with their miniature thrift store which included work from the studio as well as things that they were re-selling (everything $10 and under!) so that they could buy more supplies. And of course there were t-shirts from the silk-screening studio for sale. Some of the designs were so new that the t-shirts were fresh off the press - still warm, even.

Paintings dominated the perimeter of the space. Every wall was overflowing with them. Subject matter included everything from the classic self-portrait to landscapes to abstract paintings to narrative works. The smallest works were barely 6-inch squares and the largest were more 4-foot squares. Some of the groups had worked on special projects: there were a series of decorated skateboards as well as sneakers. I won’t even try to capture the impressive variety of styles and techniques in these paintings using words – it simply had to be witnessed.

It was incredible to see the sheer amount of things that had been created all in one space (a very large space). But this exhibition was only a fraction of the total work of the summer. So many projects weren’t being displayed here but were instead being used on letterheads or t-shirts or hanging in offices – already somewhere out in the world serving as useful art.


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