The semester-ending Emerging Artists & Designers: Senior Show 2013 is underway at Moore College of Art & Design. The exhibition fills every one of Moore's galleries and bristles with work in an astounding number of areas by a huge group of individuals that together comprise the Class of 2013.
First and foremost, it should be said that shows of this size are extremely difficult to summarize, especially when the work ranges from photography and fine art to graphic design and interior design – just to name a few. What the halls of Moore prove, however, is that there is a large and talented group of artists heading out into the world from this Philadelphia hub of creative learning, and that alone should be moving, even aside from any single body of work.
In the fine art section, there are many intriguing pieces, but a couple of sculptures are specifically notable. Valerie Schaeffer's installation entitled “No matter nor space nor time” is immediately vexing, and sits very centrally located on the floor. Two black light fixtures rest on the ground and appear more like silos or industrial structures. They are connected by a number of wires to comprise one form. In the top of each is a pool of honey, perhaps a consideration about faltering bee populations and pollination or the rising costs of agriculture in general. The objects themselves provide more mysteries than they answer, however. Schaeffer also received an award from the International Sculpture Center, for this construction.
Kelly Colligan creates tiny creatures with human hands for heads and provides a very straightforward title for her project: “The Human-Animal.” These hand-sculpted porcelain figures explore human beings' inherent qualities as animals themselves, but also question our motivations for how we treat other animals. We farm our fellow creatures, keep them as domestic company, and even personify them with names, but where do the real boundaries lie? When do pets become members of our families and when do we become primal ourselves? These tiny quadrupeds are as disturbing as they are enlightening, forcing us to view ourselves and our environments from a number of disparate angles.
Graphic design permeates our everyday lives more than we may even know. We see advertisements on buses and billboards, we scrutinize website designs and font selections, and this hidden-in-plain-sight art form reveals itself as a potent product of our society. Lauren Ladner examines dreams, animals and human forms in her stylized serigraphs and digital watercolor prints. In one, a ghostly figure sits in a rocking chair in a musty wooden room, while elsewhere her figures are vivacious and holding hands. While Ladner's focus is more earthward and inward, Whitney Harrall turns her eyes to the skies. Harrall provides a setup of prints detailing the constellations of old, while a video loop of similar forms plays nearby above a blanket full of star-like electric lights.
Michelle Reese received the Best in Show in Interior Design for her re-imagining of the Center City Boyd Theatre. Reese pays a significant amount of attention to detail, which, for an interior designer is essentially paramount. She redesigns light fixtures, creates new colors and patterns for carpets and furniture upholstery and even includes thorough floor plans of the space. Reese also presents historical notes which are rather helpful for providing context for her digital renderings of the potential future interior of the theater.
There is much more to see Moore for this exhibition, and this summary barely scratches the surface. The 2013 Senior Show will be on display throughout the Galleries at Moore until May 18.
Moore College of Art & Design is located at 20th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia; 215-965-4027; thegalleriesatmoore.org.