SENIOR ART EXHIBITIONS: WEEK 1

This week, METHOD brings you the work of four (insanely talented) artists: Derrick Wang, Luca Ameri, Raphael Leitz, and Dat Vu. From strings to canvas, these artists provoked themes of space, medium, and everything of the in between. For those who missed it and for those who didn't, let our staff guide you through.


Derrick Wang's Maze of Strings
WORDS: Elizabeth Cettina '18
 

Making art is a lot about being realistic,” Derrick Wang explained when asked how he chose string as the medium for his installation piece, Maze of Strings. Central to the piece’s effect is experiencing the piece in actual space. The installation is interactive: with both the architecture of the space and the viewing experience. When asked why the piece is symmetric, for example, Wang responded, “The architecture in this space is symmetric.” Wang continued, “There are certain limits to space.” When the viewers move about the space, however, there are, “No rules,” Wang said. He encouraged the audience to walk around and experience the piece from different angles (as long as they leave the piece intact). Like the limestone and concrete of the architecture, the viewers are “heavy” and “define the space,” to use Wang’s terms. The string, in contrast, lacks spatial definition; it is “void” and “almost linear.” But much like the architecture defines the string’s space, the string defines the viewer’s space; see: people ducking under string, craning their necks toward the ceiling, and crouching down on the floor. Initially, however, viewers seem intimidated and hang back, searching for a way into the piece. As Wang says, “Creativity is about making use of limitation and understanding boundaries.”

 

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Luca Ameri's (Im)mutable Solid
WORDS: Laura McIntyre '17

 

Installation art often exists in institutions so big  and so important that they don’t let visitors fully interact with the piece itself. “Please, do look at this new structure in this space that begs to be walked through, felt, moved, BUT DO NOT TOUCH IT!” This lack of closeness to the work itself seems to apply at most museums and galleries. A black-suited guard roams.

But not so much at Zilkha! You can literally walk through Luca Ameri’s architecture piece, which acts as his senior art thesis, (Im)mutable Solid. The black material used for the hanging cones is sheer enough that one can see the wooden beam structure that exists beneath it. There is an obvious formation, straight angles, clear definition. But the piece itself is equally fluid and flexible. Push into the cones and they won’t resist your weight. They’ll sway with you. Luca also explicitly uses black as his color palette. But look between the cones at the negative space, and you’ll see air, white room.

His work reminds me of the saying, “think the opposite of what you think.” There is complexity in the simple, vibrancy in limited colors. Walk through upside down and right side up cones hung from the ceiling and you might think of being in a charcoal forest. Push them away and you might think of a the sensation of swatting a balloon, but a type that will eventually return back towards you.

Or look for yourself. Go this week to see Luca’s work, Zilkha Gallery.


Raphael Leitz's Drive
WORDS: Anna Sanford '18 & Olivia Rodrigues '18

Painting major Raphael Leitz explores “the physical narrative of action; a description based in the passage of time through both space and movement” in his thesis, Drive. Raphael Leitz's sculptures meditate on the fast.  He works abstractly, using overlapping black and white quadrilaterals of varying textures and compressions to convey shifting flashes of driving.  Inspired by the sensations of motor sports, Leitz creates unique sensory profiles that encapsulate a subjective experience. These physical narratives, made from canvas, metal, oil paint, and oil sticks, capture the jerk, turns, and rushes of a racing car. Held in the cavernous Zilkha Gallery, where natural light pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows, Leitz’s work is physical and atmospheric, successfully fulfilling the aims of his vision. 


Dat Vu's Glass Closet, Secret Egg
WORDS: Lily Landau '18

Dat Vu’s Glass Closet, Secret Egg surveys a variety of locations from cities in Vietnam, to California, to Puerto Rico photography, transporting me from my Wesleyan cocoon to places I have never visited. His work conveys the secretive, yet transparent, qualities of his images. His work imparts a feeling of estrangement; Vu wants his viewers to derive an “out-of-place” feeling from his work. He tries to “find a familiar feeling” when taking pictures; he strives to be comfortable with the subjects he is shooting. He admits that the larger-sized photos are “the ones that are most important to the series.” Humble and talented, Vu wants his viewers to both enjoy his photography, as well as give him feedback on his work. Dat Vu’s thesis is a breath of fresh air. Anybody who wants to take a break from the stress of college life should walk on over to Zilkha gallery to take a journey to the world that Vu portrays through his images.