“Do you want to make your mark?”
In an homage to the artist Futura, the Center For the Arts (CFA)’s was transformed into a New York City subway station. Patrons could check off their visits to artists with a bingo-like game on large metrocards, and blue, orange and green lines of tape on the floor guided patrons throughout the CFA, highlighting different forms of media.
The hosts of “Futura 2000: Breaking Out” encouraged UB community members to decorate the widespread canvas. Scribbles, shapes and many more drawings adorned the canvas in vibrant colors.
The activity was one of the highlights of CFA’s annual “Art in the Open” event, hosted last week. The exhibit allowed visitors an immersive glimpse into UB artists’ creative processes without the formality of a typical museum.
Artists opened their studios to attendees and showcased their pieces, which ranged from abstractions to realism. Directors presented their short films in the screening room. Musicians and dancers kept the ambience vibrant with live performances.
Salem Browning, an MFA candidate and image-based artist, opened his studio to let attendees soak up his projections of water on hanging silk curtains. Browning “shares a spiritual connection with water,” because of his upbringing in Outer Banks with a Baptist background. He has also been investigating the explosiveness of the color blue and the relationship to his gender identity as a trans person.
The hanging silk curtains reflect how Browning values the positioning of art in a space, whether it’s elevated or projected onto the floor to design an interactive space. The movement that a viewer must make in between pieces simulates what it’s like occupying a liminal space — something Browning is fascinated by as he often finds himself in liminal spaces. It’s a vision he’s bringing to life in the CFA’s Project Space in an exhibit next Wednesday.
Instead of simply observing, patrons were able to directly interact with some of the art. Within the media studios, they played student-made games, including the story-based “partner star,” which detailed the journey of finding one’s soulmate in every life.
“It’s just a cute little love story,” MFA candidate and “Partner Star” creator Hunt-Locklear said.
In CFA 278, PhD candidate Chris Hansen and MFA candidate Blake Barritt showcased an interactive dimension between themselves as they played a chess game that was carefully timed against their obscure projection. Behind their performance was a projection of kids running with guns in a tunnel with the word “happiness” spray-painted on the wall.
Another major theme featured in the studios was the interaction between AI and art. Famous Clark, an MFA student, gave players a glimpse into an AI-predicted future through tarot cards.
“The term ‘artificial’ isn’t something that is less than the physical. It still has something, some kind of efficacy, something that we should be attuned to, whether it’s black box AI or ‘magic,’” Clark said.
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Tenzin Wodhean is the arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mylien Lai is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum. Outside of getting lost in Buffalo, she enjoys practicing the piano and being a bean plant mom. She can be found at @my_my_my_myliennnn on Instagram.