Saturday, April 24, 2010

4th Year Studio Art Major Exhibition

"It's like the equivalent of your thesis," explained D, as she carefully placed sliced strawberries on top of whipped cream and double fudge brownies. I was slicing tomatoes in our friend's kitchen, which another friend placed between two slices of rye bread smothered in red pepper hummus. We were helping out for D's art exhibition yesterday.

Being an art major was something I considered. In fact, art school was a serious consideration for me. RISD, Pratt, FIT, Parsons, Cooper Union... all of those were common buzzwords amongst my friends who were preparing their portfolios. I loved art and I had dedication. Why not?

The why-not came in the form of opportunity cost (see post on April 17th for an explanation about opportunity costs.). I had received a perfect SAT score according to the 1600 scale and was 80 points off from a perfect score on the 2400 scale. The SAT scores of the middle 50% of incoming class of RISD was 1690-2050, and for FIT... you probably didn't even have to take the SATs. If opportunity cost is the cost of not taking the next best choice, for me the opportunity cost of art school was research universities and liberal arts colleges. It was too big of an opportunity cost. In layman's terms, if I went to art school, I would be missing out on too many other opportunities that I could have had at research universities and liberal arts colleges. Essentially, I had to be absolutely sure that art school was right for me, and I wasn't sure.

Now that I am at UVA, an established research university, would it have made sense to major in art? After all my reasoning, the answer is no.

Having said all that, I absolutely envied my friend D as she rushed to prepare her exhibition. Perhaps she should have looked into a career in event planning, because she was making the most of her physical and human capital in getting this event together.

The 4th Year Studio Art major exhibition was fantastic. We explored three floors of art, people, cheese, and drinks in Ruffin Hall, the newly built building for studio art. I fell in love with one of my friend's wood printing pieces (actually the set, but I'm too poor for a set), and so I decided to purchase one. I'll take a picture of it when I make the transaction. (Note to the art connoisseurs out there: never go for the listed pricing. I would start bargaining at half... sometimes less than half. A good example is the one that I will buy: the listing was $220. Due to the fact that we were friends, she said she would sell it to me for less than $100. I know she made the frame, which would normally cost $50, but because she made it it costs about $25.)

I suppose pictures of the art exhibits would convey absolutely more than my words, but sadly I did not think we could take pictures of it and I was too forgetful. I will try my best to describe D's exhibition.

D's exhibition was on the ground floor of Ruffin, the bottom floor was dark with no windows, and spotlights haloed her paintings on silk. She had gone to high school in Japan and learned the Japanese tea ceremony there. The subject of her exhibit were hands, drawn in the brush-style that she had learned in a study abroad program in Hong Kong, pouring tea. The theme was brilliantly conveyed as sequences of these delicate hands pouring tea, outlined in bold black ink. Then in the center, she had at least nine female figures in similar sitting positions. They were clothed in the stiff, ceremonial costume associated with the tea ceremony. At a first glance, it looks like they are all replicas, but after close examination, you realize that they are different moments of the tea ceremony. For example, one drawing showed the woman placing a sweet in her mouth, which D explained to me happens because the tea is so bitter. I really enjoyed her fusion of her passion for tea, the techniques she learned in Hong Kong, and her painting style.

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