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“from this point forward” Showcases Multidisciplinary Graduate Work


A pink knitted hat. A copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. A tiny glass-encased brain cloven in two with a fork and labeled “Food for Thought.” These and 25 other objects confront visitors at the entry to the exhibition of graduate work, from this point forward, on view at the Jan and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum from May 27 to June 30, 2017. Much like an associative game, the significance of each object only becomes clear as the viewer moves through the galleries.

This multidisciplinary show is the first student show at the Shrem Museum and brings together work by 28 graduate students from seven departments including Art History, Art Studio, Creative Writing, Design, History, Music, and Theatre and Dance at UC Davis.

At the opening, the exhibition’s curator, Arielle Hardy, explained that the goals of the show were to give “the public greater access to work on this campus” and to celebrate that work by presenting a “diversity of ideas” in the “shared space of the museum.” The museum’s founding Director Rachel Teagle’s remarks looked towards the future and invited even more departments to participate in future years.

In addition to including many disciplines, several of the projects in the exhibition are themselves interdisciplinary. For instance, Ph.D. student Aida Shirazi’s musical composition recreates her experience of reading Walt Whitman’s poem “Trickle Drops” through sound. Design MFA student Victoria Baird’s “Making the Invisible Visible,” an interactive cabinet of natural curiosities, was created in partnership with the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, The R. M. Bohart Museum of Entomology, and the UC Davis Arboretum. Art MFA Faith Sponsler, the recipient of the inaugural Keister & Allen Art Purchase Prize, also sourced ink from the oak galls in the arboretum for her “Glass Mountain” installation.

Other projects in the show seek to solve design problems and conundrums, such as designing clothing for rock-climbing and illuminating products on the lower shelves of store displays. Design student Nikitaa Sivaakumar showcases easy-to-assemble, low cost, recycled cardboard solar lanterns as a solution to promote the economic availability of lighting in developing countries. Other contributors take on more theoretical questions of representation, such a Theatre and Dance MFA student Kristine Doiel, who uses cyanotype, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print, on costumes as a way of reimagining ancient Greek deities in a 21st-century version of The Trojan Women.

As the 28 objects that greet the viewer as they enter the show suggest, interactivity also figures into many of the pieces in from this point forward. Visitors are invited to enter created spaces, like Vincent Pacheco’s “Point of Historical Interest,” a full-sized “meditation cabin.” Appealing listening stations and comfortable reading areas entice visitors to listen to musical compositions and peruse novels and historical investigations written by graduate students on topics ranging from food in 19th-century Charleston to Bernini’s obelisks in Rome.

In his comments about the show, Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ken Burtis celebrated the innovation of this exhibition and its “strong visual message” that the Shrem Museum does not belong solely to the visual arts, “it is UC Davis’s museum.”

The museum, this exhibition and all the programs are free and open to the public. A schedule of associated programming can be found on the Shrem museum website.

 

–Jennifer Tinonga-Valle, DHI Graduate Student Researcher and doctoral candidate in the Department of English

This page was last updated: June 5, 2017

 

 

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