Indiana Daily Student

BFA, MFA galleries open today

"Golden Boy" is an oil on panel piece of artwork by Zach Koch that is part of the MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Grunwald Gallery of Art. The MFA show will be on display from March 25 - April 5.
"Golden Boy" is an oil on panel piece of artwork by Zach Koch that is part of the MFA Thesis Exhibition at the Grunwald Gallery of Art. The MFA show will be on display from March 25 - April 5.

The fantasy of marriage, home improvement techniques and a response to Internet culture will all come together in the Grunwald Gallery of Art’s bachelor’s and master’s of fine arts thesis exhibits opening today.

BFA student Bryn Taubensee plans to exhibit her installation exploring the ideas of marriage and the fantasies and plans that surround the tradition.

Her idea came from seeing the wedding Pinterest boards of her friends and other women.

Pinterest is a website that allows users to accumulate links and pictures that they can organize into different boards.

Many users share ideas for their future weddings on the site.  

Taubensee said she thought it was strange her friends created these fantasy weddings so early in their lives without even having marriage plans in the near or distant future.
With this inspiration, Taubensee created a sculpture with spray foam, cardboard, paint and a few statues.

“I used spray foam because it molds in a really gross way,” she said. “I think dreams are really oozy and I thought that correlated.”

Taubensee also incorporated various pastel colors into the piece to contrast the disgusting appearance of the spray foam, she said.

“The idea is you can never achieve this look because it’s so vibrant and intense,” Taubensee said.

The fantasy dreams of a Pinterest-perfect wedding are hard to achieve, and Taubensee wanted to communicate to her audience that people desire marriage without really considering its importance and effect on their lives.

“I just think art is one way to express your cultural opinions,” she said. “This is my way of vocalizing mine.”

Another sculptor exhibiting in the show is MFA student Devin Balara, who also decided to criticize an aspect of society.

Balara’s installation utilizes the tools of home improvement and applies them to cast-off objects.

For example, the sculptor took old mattresses she had found and painted them to turn them into decorative objects.

Balara’s idea came from growing up in the suburbs of Tampa, Fla., where everything seems perfect on the surface, she said.

“People try to decorate their homes according to their individual tastes, but they are shopping at the same stores for the same crap that ends up in everyone’s homes,” she said. “If everyone has the same blinds from Target, that doesn’t make your home any different from anyone else’s.”

Poking fun at this idea, Balara created her installation to appear like a mix of a furniture showroom and the way furniture actually gets set up in a home.

Her installation includes six mattresses, a rug, a separate wall and various other household objects that have been comically decorated to appear unique, she said.

A second MFA artist in the exhibit is painter Zach Koch, who is displaying a series of 16 paintings he has been working on over the past year.

Koch described himself as an appropriation artist. He takes things from other existing artwork or items in pop culture and adds his own creative spin to them.

“Basically I would take screenshots of things and arrange them in a new order,” he said. “I would mash them up together or layer them on top of each other.”

The process begins when Koch creates a digital collage of screenshots he has collected.

Working off the collage, he paints the images onto wood panels with oils.

“It would be easy to keep them as digital images, but I like translating it to some kind of archaic form,” he said.

Each painting takes one to two weeks, and almost every one ends up differently than he expected from the digital image.

“Since you’re working from something that’s artificial, it’s hard to emulate the same kind of look that a digital file has,” he said. “A lot changes along the way, but I think they look even better with the oil paint. Some expectations fall flat sometimes, and that can be hard.”

Despite the time and challenges involved in creating the pieces, Koch was able to install his pieces in time for today’s show.

“I think it’s an opportunity to see different perspectives,” he said. “I hate imposing things on people, especially when it comes to art. There’s that thing that if you don’t look at art, you’re uncultured, but I don’t necessarily believe that. Anybody that does anything creative, if they can make people amazed by their work, that’s a success.”

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