The Page Bond Gallery is pleased to present Emerging / Emerged: Recent VCUarts MFA Candidates, Graduates, and Faculty featuring work by Annie Albagli, Eric Diehl, Marc Ganzglass, Mathew Gasparek, Harris Johnson, William Matheson, Beatrice Modisett, Evan Pomerantz, Kelsey Sheaffer, Anthony Smith, Sayaka Suzuki, and Matthew Yaeger and Refresh: Group exhibition featuring work by Karen Blair, Sanford Bond, Robin Braun, Elizabeth Few, Blythe King, Erica Lohan, Hullihen Moore, Tim O’Kane, Curtis Ripley, and Randy Toy, Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 6 to 8 PM. The exhibition will run June 18 to August 21, 2015.

Mathew Gasparek is an MFA candidate in Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he minored in both philosophy and art history. Much of his current work reflects this philosophical background, aiming to investigate, in his words, “the cultural aestheticization and commodification of human emotion.” More specifically, Gasparek appropriates popular tropes and aesthetics in order to illuminate the cultural tendency to reduce “human complexity” to simplistic catchphrases, clichés, and “ideological molds.” Many of his paintings feature famous quotations, song lyrics, or familiar maxims written, in generic sans serif lettering, on top of images borrowed from well-known movies, sitcoms, or Internet memes. This combination of texts and images drawn from separate, unrelated sources allows the artist to imbue familiar messages with irony, humor, and, sometimes, resonating anxiety. By simultaneously employing and rejecting the ubiquitous tropes found in films, books, and across the Internet, Gasparek’s paintings emphasize popular culture’s propensity for feeding upon its own audience—exploiting complex feelings and desires and repackaging them, in simplified form, for constant re-consumption.

The recent paintings by MFA candidate William Matheson combine a range of disparate styles. In a palette comprised mainly of blue, green, yellow, and grey, Matheson shifts between abstraction and representation, employing non-objective and figural elements, and combining flat expanses of color with more concentrated areas of depth and detail. Pulling from a range of sources, his subject matter also fluctuates: at times it is conventional, such as a picnic in a park, and sometimes it is more cryptic, such as a partially obscured close-up of a doll’s face upon an empty background. Matheson integrates these various, divergent elements in his oeuvre in order to convey “the unseen uncertainties contained in contemporary bodies.” He explains, “In the combination of what could be seen as conflicting, competing styles, I am attempting to locate fissures in the creaking quotidian reality we now occupy.” The result is a subtly disruptive and insightful body of work that will evoke and question something different for every viewer.

MFA Kinetic Imaging candidate Kelsey Sheaffer examines the ways in which recording devices, both digital and analog, filter and translate bodily movement—particularly in the absence of the moving body. From highly manipulated video compilations of modular gestures and dances, to drawings created by the movement of ink and bouncy balls on paper, a central feature in Sheaffer’s oeuvre is the visual documentation of actions that have already taken place. The artist writes, “I investigate the tension between the temporality of the bodily presence and the physicality of art objects…. Within this is an ongoing investigation into the nature of my entrenched desire for presence and materiality of the temporary.” Significantly, while her work exposes the gap between temporal actions and their physical records, it also demonstrates how different mediums can transform those actions, creating new experiences out of already-completed ones. In this way, Sheaffer’s art explores the exciting, ambiguous, liminal space where the performing and visual arts intersect.