The DeVries student gallery held its final exhibit for the 2021 Spring semester April 19-23 with the work of student artists Jared Small and Samantha Kuhn. The Richmond Center has not issued when the DeVries student gallery will hold its next exhibit.
Small’s exhibit “Implied Function” brings together components of functionality versus having a purpose. His sculptures show that function can be ambiguous depending on how the audience looks at them.
“With the idea of furniture having a certain function and being made to perform its task, I took away the essential function of the object,” Small said. “I made these in a particular and intent-laden way yet they don’t achieve a goal.”
Small’s stylistic cues for his work come from a background in woodworking and furniture creation, which made it challenging to create works that look to have a function but ultimately do not.
“These have no clear end goal, but they still suggest it which can be interesting,” Small said.
When asked about a favorite piece, Small had mentioned the sculpture “Aperture to the rest of the room.” A piece that sits alone compared to the counterparts grouped together.
“I’m using the mechanical strength of the wood to become bent using two large screws,” Small said. “As wood is usually static and metal bends I’m showing the subversion of how the materials can function in different ways.”
The simple look of the sculpture compliments the rest of the work as the others are quite complicated, bringing them together to be a cohesive display.
They also show an interesting blend with Kuhn’s work of feminine bodies painted and photographed to look like animals in a cage.In her artist statement, Kuhn talks about how the human body can be caged by society, of not being able to break free.
“As people we are constantly being put on a stage to be watched and judged like animals in a zoo,” Kuhn said.
In the photographs, human bodies are contorted in ways and painted to look like animals behind glass. One of which, “Cage 6” has scales of a reptile with the model holding her head as though in pain. Another, “Cage 5”, shows a model’s back covered in a beautiful array of colors.
“Each pose of the model relates in some way to the animal print cast on them,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn’s vivid photographs bring out the simplicity of Small’s sculptures just as Small brings out Kuhn’s complicated emotion behind the photos.