Mason Gross students display artwork at Rutgers thesis show


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Seniors in the Mason Gross School of the Arts will present their exhibitions as part of their senior thesis from late March to early April.


The first of the two-part 2016 Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts thesis show, "Feast or Famine," is a diverse, mixed-media exhibition.

Sculpture, painting, print and graphic design pieces encompassing a broad range of themes are mixed together and represent the Mason Gross seniors’ final statements as artists in the school.

"Feast or Famine" is a culmination of half the senior class’ work. The other half will be showcased in a following exhibition, said Cassandra Oliverias, the Visual Arts senior administrative assistant. The two shows are entirely different.

The show opened March 24 and will remain open until April 9, said Allison Scalera, a Mason Gross School of the Arts senior and one of the artists showcased. She expects many people, including friends and family of the artists to show up.

Pieces range from detailed graphite portraits to collections of rejected selfies on an iPad.

The title of the exhibition does not have anything to do with the work, Scalera said. The work is very broad — there are many different types of projects.

Anxiety, intimacy, sexuality and social norms are among the many themes evoked by the pieces there, she said.

“The name of the show comes from the idea that when we graduate we’re either gonna be successful or we're going to really struggle, the whole starving artist theme,” Scalera said.

This year, paintings, sculptures and design pieces were mixed in instead of having different mediums confined to different rooms as it been done in past shows.

Scalera appreciates the integration of the design pieces with the visual arts pieces, she said.

“A lot of the design pieces can also be considered visual art, so there’s kind of this idea of breaking the boundaries of design and showing that it can be an art too," Scalera said. "As a designer, we a lot of times get squished into this idea of only being commercial artists and that's not true."

Design can come in many different forms, she said. It is important to appreciate it as a form of art and not simply a tool for marketing.

The students were in charge of the planning and the layout of the show, Oliverias said.

Being in charge of planning the layout and mounting their pieces themselves gives students a voice, she said. It also prepares students to enter the world outside of school by giving them practical experience in promoting their own work, organizing receptions.

Choosing a theme was the easiest part for Scalera, she said. As a dancer she immediately knew she would be exploring movement. Other students struggled more in finding a theme.

Time was an issue for Scalera and other artists, she said. The show is the culmination of a year of work and development, so planning began in the fall. Preparation grew in scale at the start of the spring semester, and promotional work and organizing the reception began at least two months before the show opened.

“The students have just a few days to mount the exhibition,” Oliverias said. “They have the faculty and staff as a safety net, guidelines and best practices that are laid out for them, but they are encouraged to think beyond these.”


Gabriela Amaral is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum. See more on Twitter @sentientfog.


Gabriela Amaral

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