Let’s Be Dragons: Wild Seeds

SUArt Galleries

April 6– May 14, 2017

Let’s Be Dragons: Wild Seeds, the annual exhibition of the Master of Fine Art thesis candidates from the College of Visual and Performing Arts, features the artwork of nine emerging artists Chris Zacher, Chunlin Yang, Gang Chen, Loren Bartnicke, Munjal Yagnik, Owen Drysdale, Peter Smith, Rachel Fein-Smolinski, and Shiwen Su.

Referencing Octavia E. Butler’s 1980 science-fiction novel, These Wild Seeds, the exhibition brings together a selection of artists interested in undermining or tinkering with super structures designed to engineer social order and temper radical individuality.

Owen Drysdale’s touch-screen paintings capture our vanishing virtual movements. Gang Chen’s post-apocalyptic video installation depicts a digital-relic researcher attempting to reconstruct an archeology of digital humans and Munjal Yagnik’s film focusing on the body and shadow are all potent reminders we are all leaving digital trails of indexical traces. Chris Zacher’s Job Fair is a searing critique of corporate employment structures that define worth, insist on maximum productivity and efficiency, quantify a job well done, and relentlessly impose their assessment of an human being’s value the value of a human being. Rachel Fein-Smolinski’s science fiction installation appropriates the authority of a scientist and DIY/amateur medical procedures to interrogate epistemology and tempt us with the scopophilic pleasure of a voyeur.

Altogether the artists in Wild Seeds point and nudge our focus toward institutions with power and control. The works present questions about who has the agency to manipulate our subjectivity and they attempt to craft histories that open the possibility of forging against the currents of dominant culture. Decidedly, these artworks and art practices are acts of resistance and revision, often rejected or dismissed, that help us envision a future that is unlike our past.

Loren Bartnicke’s abstract paintings and Peter Smith’s ceramic installation provide opportunities to meditate on spiritual and psychological transformation. Each work presents an individual’s response to religious rejection, the battle for self-acceptance, and the ways these psychological events can be made visual through paint, canvas, and ceramic mold making. Shiwen Su and Chunlin Yang create fantastical mythologies that retell personal histories and reprise collective histories to adjust grand cultural narratives.

In addition to Wild Seeds at the SUArt Galleries, the Point of Contact Gallery (Serpents Inside), Community Folk Art Center (Stranger in a Strange Land), and 914 Works (Hardwired to Connect) will also be presenting venues for the thesis work.  Guest curated by DJ Hellerman, curator of art and programs at the Everson Museum of Art, this spring marks the first ever campus and Syracuse city-wide celebration of the arts learned and practiced here at Syracuse University.