The International Baacalaureate Visual Arts Examination Exhibition 2016 – More Than Meets the Eye

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 9.20.29 PMAnticipation.  Heat.  Anxiety.  Nervousness.  Yes, is it possible to feel the exhaustion of working up until the night of an exhibition – even when students have been working all year on an exhibit?  Absolutely yes.  Many thoughts such as these and more were running through artists’ heads for the opening of the IB Visual Arts Exhibition Friday, April 01 before the very ribbon cutting ceremony.  When the doors opened, a new world that redefined many of the artists was opened as well.  If you have not seen this exhibit let me explain in detail, without spoiling the details.

First a small disclaimer – These were of such a personal nature, I found myself turning at every corner, and needing silence to let such personal aspects of the exhibits to soak in, yes – they reach you that deep if you let them.  I noticed just after three exhibits I had to step outside and reflect but had such a hard time doing so.  I think that is just a major quirk with this exhibit and me – when everyone left I stayed behind to go through again, the whole exhibit to really let it all soak in – by 5:30 I had the following realizations:

Kate – What jumped out at you was the intensity and details of something as simple as facial expressions, hands, fingers, the face, a new way ofScreen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.22.41 AM.png defining a floral bouquet, and centered – a frame to view everything differently.  The choice of colors to enhance many perspectives was truly uplifting –  when you see the arrangement of cubes and how they can become anything, you realize the depth and thought of how much Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.22.28 AMintensity, with a different perspective, can make a difference.  She is able to do this and more when you find yourself in the center of this exhibit space, and the way she has it spaced?  It surrounds you completely – it envelopes you.



Ximena – There is something to be said about Ying and Yang, and yet you see a balance of life, death, nature, the body, the soul.  You see bright colors enhanced and bordered by Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.25.09 AM colors and images that make you feel warm, yet wondering – what is life, truly?  By focusing on so many different colors as well as images that represent those colors, you walk into Ximena’s exhibit and feel as if every image, every portrait, every scene, has a message that will be something that will go a year ahead of you. You find at every turn a refreshing chance to redefine something you think you know, but maybe realize there is something quite more.  Allowing the spectator to see that there is always something more – that becomes an art within the art Ximena has created.

Camino – In knowing and examining Alexander Calder, you see some ideas that definitely come from this influence and yet, the rough edges, the sharp sides, the materials used, Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.26.03 AMeasily portray public pieces that could appear in the center of a town, and represent a life, an event, a time in history, and freeze the meaning of that into the very objects Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.27.00 AMCamino has created.  This might sound odd, but through various pieces, I received this image – the same type of image when children are measured by their height over the years on the wall as they grow?  You go from piece to piece and see something that Camino has latched onto that has added to her growth as an artist, it just feels that was the case as you take in all the contrasting, yet, literal and telling pieces that extend into the world, beyond these exhibit walls.

Nicole – When you have someone not afraid to take risks you usually have a real message that sticks with you well beyond the initial reaction.  Welcome to Nicole’s exhibit.  Being able to take experiences that at one time challenged her, working through them, and Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.28.32 AMfunneling them into the exhibit here, I can’t even think of enough words to complement this process.  You have to literally go from picture to picture to realize the person Nicole had to confront, herself, and how she translated what she learned into herself being represented in various ways, on all the walls of her exhibit.  Harsh, biting, real, controversial, taking taboos and you realize the drug behind the literal definition Nicole  refers to, is tied in with the everyday life we struggle with, celebrate, and overcome.  Yes life is graphic, yes life is unpleasant at times, and Nicole rushes in with arms wide open, bravely,  in light of these realizations.  Her art is real, brave, confrontational and will force you to contemplate many issues as well as Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.29.36 AMyour stance on them.  I had never heard of Drypoint Acrylic before, and – you HAVE to see what she does with this technique – the mix of what seems to be an X-ray mixed with what seems to be a window looking in – you just have to see this, a description does it no justice.

Domenica – Several themes pop out at you and yes, Salvador Dali comes to mine.  This splashes of color, splashes of meaning, just come at you in all directions.  Assortments, entanglements, meanings within meanings are searched at and searched for.   Collections, and frames seem to hold ever-increasing meanings, ready to Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.30.55 AMburst out.  You find yourself not once or twice, but three and four times turning around and re-examining a work.  You HAVE – H A V E to take in her sketch book and then you stand back and state – HOW can someone be able to put down such realistic interpretations?  What talent to SAY THE LEAST.  You are drawn into the pages then have to go back through the exhibit and take in the collections again to see how they have leaped out of the pages and onto the walls.

Patricia – You immediately want to find a couch and recline – taking in all the pieces.  The color of the walls drawn you in to the browns, the office-like comfortable feel, the idea Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.32.21 AMbehind “Once Doesn’t Count” – you take this in as you keep looking from wall to wall to wall, “It Must Be?” – this is a very interesting question as you take all in around you, reflecting on these contemplative questions, to contemplative pieces.  The browns seem to be naturally designed to go with the walls, everything invites you into the exhibit as one of the warmest rooms you have encountered, would do the same.  The seemingly simple designs become more complex as you take in the arrangement, the crisscrossing patterns that seem simple, yet so complex at the same time.  Every piece seems to hold a deeper message beyond the first glance.

Alexa – When you walk into Alexa’s exhibit you see that the only art is not the art that takes your breath away mounted.  The art of designing a space to create a feel of the art that is contained between those very walls, that is an art itself.  You see this in the real Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.21.03 AMfashion not only from the way she is able to represent a dramatic rise of fabric that is expressive in itself, but when you see the largest representation on the facing wall – ou stop and just try to take it all in.  Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 8.17.27 AMThe patterned strokes of blues, to yellows to green to tinges of red to more, you have to simply, stand there and Suppose.  Period.  It is amazing.  The deep blues as a background to other pieces, the textures of strokes  that leap out at you or drawn you into the waves of color, the boldness of the textures that combine with the sheer power of the colors – this is a return visit two or three times.  The art of simply arranging the space to get this airy, creative, fresh feel is one that needs no walls, and you feel that talent as you walk in one side of the exhibit and out the other, and back through again to capture that feeling again.  Something as personal as the sketches, writings, and lists that are provided in this exhibit let you realize the personal nature of this space.  This becomes another layer of meaning for sure.  The variety and complexity of so many pieces, so many materials, so many approaches, so many perspectives – it is difficult to not recognize how many different aspects to art are represented – and also to realize how much time it took to explore, as well as create so many.  From photography, to fashion, to paint, to just the ability to explore the depths of texture and color, you leave with a rainbow of color in your mind and your soul, wanting more to take in.

Seven.  This is only seven of many more to take in on a personal level.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to see how much more depth the 2016 IB Visual Exhibition has gone into – and in the meantime, make sure you check it out in person as well.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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