– by Rosa Boshier/Special to 24700
Last month at UCLA, the exhibit Circulate, Exchange:Nugget & Gravy featured the work of 17 current MFA students in Southern California. Included in the show were CalArts School of Art MFAs Sarah Petersen, Kari Reardon, Christopher Reynolds and Rowan Smith.
From Mathiew Greenfield and Christine Wang, curators of Circulate, Exchange:Nugget and Gravy:
The works in this show address themes such as commodity fetish, exchange, currency, labor, relational sociability, and sharing. In the context of this show, the marketplace is a medium, a moment of reaction, a place of negotiation, and a thing to ignore.The pieces generally pose questions around the subject matters of circulation, class and labor, commodity, and transmutability. Rather than answering these questions through a curatorial process, these multiple questions are brought to light by the work themselves.
From molds of acrylic finger nails (Kari Reardon) to a stand selling “Swag for Hard Times” (Sarah Petersen), the work of a couple CalArts’ MFAs in the exhibit examined the role that consumerism plays in our culture today, and furthermore, whether or not people equate consumerism with culture. Petersen’s piece, for instance, pokes fun at the persistence of consumer culture even in the face of economic crisis.
In a different vein, Christopher Reynolds’ work explored the creation of culture via social behaviors. In his drawings, Reynolds maps out the physical lines of communication during a dinner conversation, creating a linguistic diagram of discourse. His work prods the notion of social currency, asking, literally, how far conversation can take you.
Reynolds writes, “My current body of work examines the dinner table as a setting for daily performances, exhibiting how we connect (and often disconnect) through the ritual of eating…. By transcribing and visually translating these conversations into a collection of drawings, I systematically map and illustrate the community that both collides and coexists at the dinner table.”