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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

For UMass Artists the Capstone is a Gem in Their Crown

Untitled, Amy Honikman
“Untitled,” Amy Honikman

One need look no further for a visual display of UMass diversity than the art department’s year-end capstone art exhibit at the Harbor Art Gallery. With works ranging from the commercial, to the subversive, to the just plain out there, the capstone is not only an aesthetically compelling collection but also pushes the envelope of what art is. For some student’s art can mean big money (which isn’t a bad thing), for others it’s a possible career, and for some it is a tool for discovering not only themselves but also the world. Regardless, of intent what has culminated at the HAG is an impressive showing of some of the campus most talented artists.

The capstone had installation pieces, video, photography, and… puppets, yes, puppets. And boy, were they something. Call it puppets gone wild or the wrong side of Sesame Street, Amy Honikan’s three dimensional piece (Untitled) displayed a group of puppets sitting at a bar acting in a range of depravity. The perversion of what is considered universally cute and cuddly is still a comic masquerade of the real thing. As Honikan points out, “By camouflaging a harsh existence through a soft medium, an adulterated comicality is revealed.”

A sense of humor is taken to another level in Neil Horsky’s, Fluxusignments, a series of interactive and performance pieces captured via photography. Among the fluxusignments are mail art, collages, and assemblage all of which are devised by Horsky but at times executed by companions. The focus is to bring art into the public sphere, in order to access a broader audience and make it more accessible to everyone regardless of education or income. What ensues is a peaceful and effective way to express one’s point of view. Though this exhibit is fun at its backbone is the idea that art can promote social change.

Social change is not what one thinks of when viewing a pair of sneakers and while that is not the central point of their designer, Kevin O’Connell, it is definite that their stylings represent the hip hop/graffiti subculture. This installment is perhaps among the shows most controversial. O’Connell believes that Art can be marketed while others believe in the more idealized belief that Art is the absolute opposite of consumerism, unless, of course consumerism is your topic. Despite your stance, the sneakers show an attention to detail and precision that makes them one of a kind.

These are just a few, randomly chosen artists that are above written. The truth is the exhibit has many exceptional and beautiful works. B.J.West’s interesting adaptation of Buddhist hell (There is Yet Another Hell…), Daniel Coen’s multi-layered comics, the fascinating photography, the vibrant video all stand testament to a truly gifted group of UMass students. Great job, everyone and good luck!