The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Emerge: Recent VCUarts MFA Candidates and Graduates Roxana Azar, Eric Diehl, Anthony Iacono, Beatrice Modisett, Steven Randall, Jake Reller, Ricardo Ruiz, Keley Sheaffer, Ryan Syrell, Matthew Warren, and Jeremy Zietz opening Thursday, June 2 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run June 2 to July 8, 2016.

Beatrice Modisett is a recent VCUarts MFA graduate whose work is informed by a constant need to discover and experience the world anew. Using the tactile act of painting to engage imagery gleaned from GoogleEarth, the International Space Station, and the Hubble Space Telescope, her latest body of art negotiates physical and virtual means of exploration. Modisett’s technique consists of scraping, weathering, pouring, and splashing paint on canvas, consciously mirroring the erosive processes by which terrestrial and extraterrestrial landscapes are shaped. Hovering the line between abstraction and representation, these large-scale, kaleidoscopic images constantly reference their own materiality while also alluding to natural formations, such as volcanoes, glaciers, and bodies of water. As such, they invite viewers to navigate the processes of each painting’s creation alongside and in relation to the processes that shape the land around us. Occupying a contemplative, liminal space that is both “beyond and between” physical and virtual means of experiencing the world, these paintings thereby “grant access to previously hidden landscapes and perspectives.”

First-year VCUarts MFA student Ricardo Ruiz uses elements of portraiture to engage multicultural traditions of storytelling and superstition. Abandoning the portrait genre’s conventional emphasis on individual identity, his visages showcase collective symbols, rituals, and memories in order to probe “the everyday rhythms” of the human condition. While Ruiz expresses a particular interest in “the difficult histories of North America, personal memoir, ritual, and the ascension and regression of humankind throughout recorded history,” his subject matter taps into folklore, religion, and allegories from a range of cultures and eras. The resulting images are sometimes humorous, at other times solemn, and occasionally monstrous; yet they consistently raise important questions about the ways human societies have chosen to represent themselves and their conditions across time and space. Ruiz’s watercolors thus invite contemporary viewers to contemplate their connection—however ambiguous—to other cultures; at the same time, the undefined and potentially unfamiliar personae in these portraits encourage viewers to confront their own established systems of interpreting experiences and making sense of the unknown.