Kunst-o-Rama Visual Arts Open House showcases rising young talent

It’s hard to say if the artworks outnumbered the audience or vice versa, but certainly the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts was packed with both at the Department of Visual Art & Art History’s annual Open House held March 13.

Dubbed Kunst-o-Rama, this year’s edition of the open house exhibition featured hundreds of works created by the rising young talent in the department. Print media, drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and time-based art were on view in the galleries, classrooms, studios and lobbies on all four floors of the complex. Artists were on hand to welcome visitors and speak about their creative process.

VISAOpenHouse2013 008-storyimage1Betty Zhang’s “Untitled” (Wire, foam core, LED lights, 2013) suspended a large foam core paper crane (pictures) and wire paper crane in the atrium of the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Art with dozens of colourful small paper  dotting the railings

“It’s interesting to see the work of my fellow students and so many different media on display at once,” said second-year visual arts student Mary Dyja. “It’s an amazing showcase of what’s happening in our program at York, and the great facilities we get to work in.”

“It’s really cool’” said Mark Backman, who was invited to the exhibition by his daughter Jennifer, who is in her fourth year of study. “I’m so impressed by the hours of effort and spectacular imagination that go into the pieces. And I’m very proud of Jennifer’s contributions to the show; I know she’s working really hard and we’re all excited about her upcoming graduation.”

VISAOpenHouse2013 011-storyimage2Upper level painting students displayed their work in a 3rd floor painting studio in the Joan and Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Art

In addition to a visual feast, Kunst-o-Rama also offered thousands of dollars of prize money. The exhibition culminated with an awards ceremony co-hosted by Professors Brandon Vickerd and Judith Schwarz, Chair of the department, punctuated by enthusiastic cheers from the students.

The $5,000 Ram Iron & Metal Sculpture Award was presented to Brandon Davis for his six and one half foot tall sculpture Yosemite.

“I was super stunned,” said Davis upon receiving the prize. “Everyone made really great work, so it’s a great honour to be chosen.”

VISAOpenHouse2013 085-storyimage3Andy Racco and Cristina Siragusa of Ram Iron & Metal presented the sculpture award to  Brandon Davis (centre)

Yosemite is predominantly made of metal with a solid pine torso that Davis carved and burned. The piece is part of a series of three sculptures he created this year, inspired by national parks he has visited.

The Visual Arts Student Association’s People’s Choice Award went to three artists with very different practices.  Miles Forrester got the nod for a performance piece, Andrew Testa for a small-scale drawing, and Victoria Murawski for her life size guillotine sculpture which she replicated based on historical diagrams.

Amanda Boulos won the Willowdale Group of Artists Painting Award, which recognizes exceptional achievement in painting by an upper-level undergraduate who is continuing to study the medium. She receives $1,250 and the opportunity to present a solo exhibition in York University’s Gales Gallery.

VISAOpenHouse2013 088-storyimageArtists chosen for the  juried Propeller Centre Kunst-o-Rama exhibition, clockwise from back left: Angela Snieder, Miles Forrester, Qendrim Hoti, Brandon Davis, Rebecca Munce, Paulina Su, Isabella Silva, Krista Castelo and Amanda Boulos

Among the other prizes announced was the list of students selected by jury for the Visual Art & Art History Department’s sixth annual graduation show. Also titled Kunst-o-Rama, the exhibition will take place April 17 to 28 at the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts in the Queen St. West gallery district in downtown Toronto.

The 12 young artists chosen to present their work are Krista Castelo and Isabella Silva (drawing); Amanda Boulous and Rebecca Munce (painting); Victoria Bacnis and Qendrim Hoti (photography); Ana Gonzalez and Angela Snieder (print media); Brandon Davis and Paulina Su (sculpture) and Miles Forrester and Eshan Rafi (time-based art).

The Visual Arts Open House was coordinated by Professors Brandon Vickerd, Janet Jones and  Leslie Korrick, studio manager Andrew Gugan, and Visual Art Student Association representatives Amanda Boulos and Miles Forrester. The Kunst-o-rama show at the Propeller Centre is coordinated by Visual Arts Professors Michael Davey and Richard Hill.