Members of UB’s artistic community offered an exclusive glimpse into their creative processes at Art in the Open, an annual open-studio event held at the CFA last Thursday. Art in the Open has little in common with the typical gallery opening, where patrons walk past painstakingly curated collections of art hung on plain white walls. Instead, attendees were met with the lively, bustling atmosphere of UB’s most talented artists in their natural habitats: their studios.
On all three floors of the CFA, artists exhibited their works, both finished and unfinished, in the very rooms they were created. Painters showed their latest pieces among palettes of paint, cups of brushes and stacks of canvases. Dancers practiced their new choreography with their studio doors flung wide open. Filmmakers projected their latest experiments on the walls of the CFA’s dimly lit screening rooms.
Campus groups including UB Chorus and UB Guitarists filled the atrium with music as visitors explored the building’s many creative spaces, mingling with each other and with the artists themselves.
Soda, a second-year MFA student whose paintings are “imbued with positivity and self-acceptance,” gleefully welcomed curious visitors while projecting their most recent sketches on the wall.
Soda’s studio was covered wall-to-wall in colorful pieces exploring the human form, celebrating queer identity and promoting body-positivity.
“It can be a little stressful, opening up your studio to look at what you’re currently doing and what’s in progress,” Soda said. “But it’s really cool. I’ve never done this in any other program.”
Though the idea of inviting strangers into a place as personal as an art studio was nerve-wracking for some artists, the atmosphere was overwhelmingly warm and welcoming, with attendees clearly thrilled at the opportunity to peek behind the curtain.
Some artists, like Quincey Miracle, a second-year MFA student, even continued to work on their pieces while chatting with patrons. As intrigued attendees filed in and out of their basement studio, the sculptor and installation artist casually stitched together pieces of a quilt meant to emulate human skin.
“I think it’s really nice to allow people to kind of contextualize the finished work and the process altogether,” Miracle said.
Miracle’s studio exemplifies the sheer artistic diversity of UB’s campus community. Tucked in the basement of the CFA, it showcases a collection of cathartic conceptual pieces unlike anything else in the building.
Their sculptures, constructed from metal, plaster, paper and more, touch on mental illness, queerness and abuse.
In the corner stands “Dyssocialized,” a wooden cabinet that houses a plaster torso tied up in red string.
On the desk is the beginnings of a stuffed rabbit.
Right outside the studio is an interactive installation visitors can literally step inside: a booth showcasing a single journal entry written by the artist that day. “Time: 2:31 p.m. Mood: Anxious,” the paper reads.
The studios started to close their doors around 7:30 p.m., but the night’s festivities weren’t quite done. They concluded with two disparate but simultaneous performances: Bridget Moser’s surrealist prop comedy piece “When I Am Through With You There Won’t Be Anything Left” and a performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee,” a quirky and comedic musical.
As the night ended and the building cleared out, the CFA was still buzzing with excitement from the wealth of creativity on display.
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum.