A PLUSH universe

Thomas Nguyensmith's exhibition ÒIn PLUSH We TrustÓ now in CFA

The Spectrum

Right now, a stuffed, multi-colored fabric anomaly engulfs the Visual Studies Lower Gallery of UB's Center For the Arts.

It hangs on the wall, surrounded by other bulbous pieces. PLUSH has invaded the space, there's no going back. When you walk into the exhibit, you walk into Thomas Nguyensmith's alternate universe.

Nguyensmith's universe is revealed in the exhibit, "In PLUSH We Trust." It's a universe shrouded in excitement, rule breaking and few limitations.

The art takes you into Nguyensmith's creative mind - like an explosion of an ingenious imagination.

"The art world is saturated by these ideas about what is art and what isn't art," Nguyensmith said. "So if I started my own world, I can make my own rules."

Until April 5, the PLUSH universe will be inviting everyone in to take part in various events. Next week, from April 1-5, the Visual Studies Lower Gallery will be home to PLayoga, WW/PwUSH (a PLUSH wrestling event) and PLUSH PolicDodge Ball. Nothing is off limits and everyone is welcome, according to Nguyensmith.

Visitors of the exhibit are encouraged to dance in the art, make themselves comfortable within the art and break free from any artistic constraints.

This isn't the type of art event that will warrant a typical reception - it will involve a confusing accumulation of PLUSH fights, unrestricted dance and loud music.

There's also a WERKt Wall - designated purely for incessant twerking.

"I'm reclaiming a space for myself," Nguyensmith said. "In this other world, this creature is just a thing that is there."

But this "thing" works to inspire those around them to be happy and free.

Although the art takes the audience on an adventure - people's eyes dance between piece to piece and flare in the flurried excitement of color - the real focus is on the audience reaction. Visitors are encouraged to assimilate into the art and take themselves outside of their mundane comfort zone.

It encourages people to smile, according the artist.

"His art is just him," said Philip Koperski, a senior fine art major and DJ to various PLUSH events. "If Tommy was a physical thing ... he would just be PLUSH."

All events will take place within the Visual Studies Lower Gallery of the CFA. More information on dates and times are posted in the events section of the UB Visual Studies department website.

Everything in the exhibition may seem displaced - a little on a whim - but scratch the surface it becomes obvious that everything entwines together like the tentacles of PLUSH.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com