Use whatever you have

Six students from the Master of Fine Arts program display a widely varied set of artworks

Claire Joseph

After many years at the University, graduate students often can’t wait to pack up their bags and call it quits.

But six art students in the University’s Master of Fine Arts graduate program – Brian Aldrich, Richard Barlow, Christopher R. Deo, David Hamlow, Marc Willhite and K.N. Wheelock – aren’t as eager to hit the road.

For the next month, the Katherine E. Nash Gallery will play host to the Master of Fine Arts Student Exhibition, a gathering of these six students’ art collections in one show.

The Master of Fine Arts program at the University is a three-year plan directed toward self-motivated students who love art.

The exhibition is the final product of this master’s program, taking the place of the written thesis required by most other programs.

Although there is a written aspect to the final master’s requirement, it is not public, Deo said.

His work, done mostly through drawing and painting, often takes the form of two-dimensional, ambiguous images placed on a white canvas, which, at first, might seem a little too big and white.

“I’m more interested in people finding stuff in the images,” Deo said.

And as far as the whiteness is concerned, Deo said, “That type of isolation and fragmentation is pretty contemporary.”

Barlow, another artist in the show, offers a much different look. Concentrating on oil painting, his collection is brighter and more traditional. With everyday images such as birdcages, street lamps, forests and the horizon, Barlow finds diversity and originality through the use of color and, if you look closely, the addition of words and numbers within his work.

“I’m interested in the interplay of word and image,” Barlow said.

One of his paintings shows an image of a golden path leading to a red forest. When you examine the path further, you realize it consists of an ascending list of numbers.

Barlow’s paintings have a way of drawing viewers in with their initial beauty and keeping them interested with the detail found on close study.

Aldrich uses mathematics to create his art.

“I make them all with a compass,” Aldrich said.

He uses the Golden Ratio – the ratio based on the Greek Golden rectangle that is considered the most pleasing to the eye – as the foundation for his art by creating curves and circular images.

Aldrich also uses three-dimensional spheres to better explain what his art represents.

As shown by these three artists and the three others whose work will be shown at this exhibition, art can be purposely ambiguous, mathematically rational and everything in between.