Student work from VES at Carpenter Center, through June 17
Collected on the third floor, up the ramp, is the "best" student work done under the aegis of VES. Indubitably, there is a lot of talent here, though most of it remains potential and little of its expression rests self-confident and complete. Some of the most exciting pieces strike you immediately; Carter Brandon and Ross Miller's sculpture, dripping wine, arrests the eye, ear, nose. One of three beautifully engineered sculptures, the work balances stretched steel cable, rods, and shimmering planes. Wine slides and spatters down its contours. Further on, Anne Taintor's silkscreen parrot quilt hangs in downy color, a softer statement; to the right large line drawings assert strength and sensuality.
But the exhibit does not dare enough: it remains bounded by the adjective "student". Inadequately budgeted, the show reflects the biases of academics in its display and content. Many of these pieces are too obviously exercises, too directed to be more than imperfect realizations of formulas. Traditional modes and media dominate; a painting section hangs in guady grandeur over half a wall, while one of the most outstanding pieces in the show, Sage Sohier's book of umbrella photographs, is locked all-but-invisible in a glass case.
Individual students' work in this exhibit is fascination and often well-executed. But the orientation of the VES Department and the artistic inhibition that seems to prevail, tempt one to ask, with the anonymous spray-can graffartisit whose work exhibits itself on the second-floor landing of Carpenter; "OU SONT LES POULETS D'ANTANT?"