Mason Gross visual arts undergraduates explore “City and Myth” in annual gallery show

"City and Myth" includes pieces like plaster sculptures by Ingrid Morales (front) and paintings by  Gabe Chiarello (back).

“City and Myth” includes pieces like plaster sculptures by Ingrid Morales (front) and paintings by Gabe Chiarello (back).

By Nicole Gifford

Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts’ annual undergraduate art show, free and open to the public through November 12 in the Mason Gross Galleries at the Civic Square Building, features work from undergraduate students in the Mason Gross visual arts program and is curated by seniors in the school.

The undergraduate show for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts visual arts students takes place every fall, explained Nora Wimmer, 21, a Bachelor of Fine Arts painting major and student curator.

“Anyone can submit work, and nothing is rejected from the show,” Wimmer said.

Students from every class, year and medium were encouraged to interpret this year’s “City and Myth” theme as they saw fit and submit paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and multimedia work to the show.

“The theme is loose and can be metaphorical,” Wimmer said. “People just think about what they have done and about how some piece that they made could fit in when they’re submitting work.”

This theme draws was inspired by the exhibition “Odessa’s Second Avant-Garde: City & Myth,” currently on view at the Rutgers-affiliated Zimmerli Art Museum.

“The theme is always in relation to a show at the Zimmerli to encourage people to go there more often,” Wimmer said.

Wimmer found that the curation of the show, a requirement for fourth year Bachelor of Fine Arts students in visual arts, was a challenging and fulfilling learning experience.

“The senior thesis class was in charge of putting everything together, from picking out pieces for rooms, placing them, setting up lighting and wall tags, to returning the pieces after,” Wimmer said. “It’s more complicated than I thought it would be, but it’s good practice for the future.”

Will Tutino, 20, a Bachelor of Arts visual arts senior who is not in the thesis class, says that being featured in the show is an invaluable opportunity for getting his work seen.

“It’s the one big thing for the year that B.A. students can have work in, too,” Tutino said. “It’s good because it’s a big gallery space and everything’s up for three weeks, so a lot of people should be able to come.”

Tutino, who submitted a mixed media sculpture, was impressed with the way this year’s thesis class curated the show.

“The only problem with the undergraduate shows is that they tend to be really overcrowded,” Tutino said. “This year, it isn’t so much of an issue.”

Wimmer said that creating a presentable, well-rounded exhibition was at times very difficult to do with so many opinions to consider. The thesis class was divided into three groups of fourteen and assigned two rooms each to choose art for and set up.

“It’s kind of chaotic, trying to get fourteen people to agree when they’re arguing about the best way to do things,” Wimmer said. “The undergraduate shows are always a lot of imagery, so it’s a little overwhelming to make decisions just because there’s so much.”

As for her own sculpture in the show, Wimmer was pleased to be able to display her work alongside many of her accomplished classmates.

“I’m just glad to share it with everyone and that they enjoyed seeing it, too,” Wimmer said. “There is such great work this year.”

The galleries are open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, with extended hours until 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, and they are open on Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m.