VCU Senior art show spotlights rising talents, here’s a few stand outs

by | May 4, 2015 | ART

As the VCU semester winds down, the art scene in Richmond is abuzz with undergrad and grad talent, and especially our graduating seniors from the School of the Arts.


As the VCU semester winds down, the art scene in Richmond is abuzz with undergrad and grad talent, and especially our graduating seniors from the School of the Arts.

Friday let loose a slew of art openings, and a few of them are still going on:

Dissected and Distracted until June 27,
Cute as a Button until May 17,
New Faces II until August 30,
MFA Thesis Exhibitions: Round 2 until May 17
and The Black Inventor’s Hall of Fame, rescheduled for this week.

The Lost Episode took place at dual locations 300 E Broad and 301 W Broad and featured works by VCUarts Class of 2015 Sculpture + Extended Media seniors Casey Burkett, Hansol Chloe, Christina DelliSanti, Rachel Elder, Hannah Elmer, Taylor Healy, Elizabeth Henderson, JoJo Houff, Silu Lei, Ryan Martin, Jack Miller, Eric Nillson, Jessica Rupkey, Theresa Ramirez Jr & Ginna Maeve Shea, Danya Smith, Michael Todd, Pegah Vaezi, Alexx Marie Valencia, Claire Lee, Remy Ciuba, Rachel Fry, and Sydney Leighton.

Towards the center of the space leans Taylor Healy’s Flee. It self-consciously rests on an unusable wheel and two bent steel rods. The viewer is faced with a painted wooden surface bearing royal blue text on a cool magenta ground. A slightly raised capital F commands the space on the left side of the object with a small rectangle removed from its top.

Following the F: a raised, light ochre surface reminicent of tiled surfaces and/or architecture fills in between the recessed letters of descending size L, I, E, and E. The light ochre pattern is interrupted by a molded clay surface at the bottom. A painted shadow quietly hides beneath the ledge at the top of the object, which stops just short of the last E and is itself cut at an angle. On the implied back of the object, the structure is bare, stays true to materials, and is as considered as its obvious front.

Healy exploits our literacy by reconditioning us to view font as image. Flirting with both two- and three-dimensional object language, this piece exists in the signage realm, billboard aesthetics, mobile advertising, interrupted cityscapes, spacial relationships, and fictional functionality. Healy’s Flee features many moments of percieved vs. actual perspectives. Flee is forthright; the material integrity is upheld by manipulating each aspect to its natural capacity.

Formidibly near a corner hangs Sydney Leighton’s Baby. Two golden cob holders bear the weight of two anthropomorphic red sacks, each tied at a limb with a white string. A limp limb reveals the infant-yellow patterned backside of the red sacks. Beneath these, sprawled on the floor, lies a similar form. Green mesh cloth reveals paper fragments of an iMessage conversation with Mama. A message reads, “I want to fucking die” and it is unknown whether this was from Mama or another sender. The text message field has been left empty. Pale threads twist like ligaments and intestines to plump the fabric into shape. The underside is light, satiny pink.

This piece gets us there. Completely devoid of babies, gore, or hellish smells, we are spellbound by… what’s that? Oh, it’s the metallic smell of decaying flesh hanging like meat in a butcher shop. Leighton transforms the friendliest materials into cringeworthy imagery. At this point, it doesn’t really matter who sent that text, because it’s pretty fucked up either way. The presentation of this piece is painterly, disturbing, and playful.

Dear Jo(h)n: A Breakup Show drew the crowds in to the VCUarts Class of 2015 Photography Senior Show at Art6 with edibles from Weezie’s, an open bar, and beautiful senior work. Featured artists included Sara Clarken, Kristina Bergey, Emily Volles, Samantha Correa, Kiersten Koenig, Steven J Casanova, Hannah Duncan, Carson Parris, Kathryn Mayes, Dominique Munoz, Whitney Cole, Landri Pierce, Jessica L Berry, Hillary Hutchison, Andie Younkin, Margaret Morris, Jennifer Davis, Kristina Bergey, Nicole Samson, Amber-Lynn Taber, Madeline Diane Pofahl, Timothy Helm, and Kathryn Stimpson.

The film photographs by Maggie Morris pop. Simple city walls boast vibrant reds and deep blues. Form, shape, line, and color are at the forefront of the series. Quiet scenes of daytime feed into one another when displayed side by side. Three rows of four photographs stack neatly and concisely on the wall. Lines continue throughout the images.

Figures are blatantly absent from Morris’ work. The spaces captured by Morris are charged with such an open narrative. As Morris composes the images initially, it is evident that their purpose has always been to exist together. While they are strong images alone, Morris greatly benefits from composing these works together as a whole. These photographs are sexy, simple, and sensuously formal.

At the top of the stairs, Jessica Lee Berry’s striking work catches the eye. The images range from portraiture to a gnarly crack in the sidewalk to an ethereal dreamscape. Light and color play a significant role in Berry’s work; a soft color palette of cool tones give the images a hauntingly beautiful appeal.

Particularly stirring of Berry’s photographs is the image of the female nude gracefully bent over like a wilted flower. The cool grey background contrasts the pink and yellow hues of the body. Her skin is opalescent. Her aura is angelic. Berry transforms the viewer into voyeur. Our eyes have interrupted an intimate moment of silence. The body is a smooth, vulnerable, sensual sculpture.

This year’s graduating seniors from the VCU School of the Arts are making moves. Their work is sure to impress and promises strong artistic practices .

Keep an eye on these talented young artists; we know we will.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




more in art

Dissociative Gaze Into The Abyss: A Sunday Essay

Is the revival of the 2014 Tumblr girl how the internet copes with the end of the world?  The dissociative pout, also referred to as the dissociative gaze, was first coined by i-D Magazine in the 2022 article “The cult of the dissociative pout” by Rayne Fisher-Quann,...

Enter The Rocky Horror-Verse

CRIMINOLOGIST:  I would like…if I may…to take you on a strange journey. ROCKY HORROR AUDIENCE ASKING:  How strange was it? ROCKY HORROR AUDIENCE ANSWERING:  So strange they made a movie about it. Hello Richmond. What are you doing the night BEFORE Halloween? My...

Muralists Leave Their Mark At Three Notch’d Friday

Richmond loves a good mural, and for many of us, the recent occurrence of RVA Street Art Festival's tenth anniversary reunion at the Canal Walk just whets our appetite. It's for us, therefore, that Three Notch'd RVA Collab House hosts the Leave Your Mark Mural Fest at...

The Theory Of Mural Return

RVA Street Art Festival celebrates the tenth anniversary of its first event in 2012 at the place where things began: the abandoned power plant along Richmond's Canal Walk where that first festival took place. The jury's still out on whether time really is a flat...

Pin It on Pinterest