What can anyone say about a graduating masters art class that won’t sound over used? There are a lot of people who find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to spend time and money on any sort of fine arts degree.
Master degree years are coveted; it’s the last time a degree-seeking artist will spend learning in a classroom. That time and focus changes the people who seek it out. They, and their work, are rarely the same because of it. Columbia University’s 2016 graduating MFA class and its thesis show, mounted at Fisher Landau Center in Long Island City New York, set an unequivocally new standard for the fine art community.
Photography’s emulsive fingers and lens culture extend across all mediums. Never before has there been such a powerful ability to legitimize the medium. Now that everyone’s a photographer photography can finally start breaking all its rules. Photographs are just as sculptural, painterly and graphic as any modern or contemporary art object. So why shouldn’t photography start mending and confusing together with other mediums? The camera, in its literacy, is a jumping off point.
The view of a lens finds its way through the works of Columbia’s graduating class; it is elusive, it is poetic, it is as literal as it is used to abstract and reconstruct. Photography has a funny way of slipping past truth – it creates a fiction. The lie of it is far more honest; after all, these artists invented it. They’re not dishonest; it’s just that photography is no longer in need of reality.
Graduates of this program build relationships with the work and the community of the program. Rachel Stern and Michael Stablein, Jr. – two graduates and artists in the show – spent a lot of time chatting with me about interrogating relationships as well as themselves as individuals. These endeavors are key to the nature of photographic and visual imagery. Walking around Fisher Landau it is clear that where the works are vastly different and wide in breadth and range that semblance of personal journey and camera tethers them.
Columbia University’s Visual Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition
Last Day ! Until May 16th, 2016
Curated by Omar López-Chahoud
Fisher Landau Center For Art
38-27 30th Street
Long Island City
Thur – Mon, 12-5