Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Why Yes: CalArts MFA Graduates Answer in Why Theory"

Why Theory was the question. And, recent CalArts MFA graduates replied in the seeming pages of coloring books, video footage of flowers, and a gold and cubic zirconium ring—just to name a few.

            MFA candidates from the California Institute of the Arts presented their final exhibition, Why Theory, this past Saturday at the Spring Arts Tower in downtown LA. A colorful crew of 33 recent graduates was on display, their art responded with vision, sound, light, color, movement and pop to the rather philosophical call of the exhibition title.

            “[The exhibition] does not question ‘why theory?’ rather, through the dynamics of the artists, emulates simultaneous deconstruction and reconstruction of ideas that manifests everywhere from the confines of a painted canvas to the body of a performing artist,” explained Rita Gonzalez, co-curator of the show and assistant curator of Contemporary Art at LACMA, in a press release.

With that sense of freedom, I found myself wandering through the labyrinth-like corridors of the gallery space in a watchful search of my own answer to Why Theory.

Something that took apart the norm, the humble, the overlooked, the very personal and pieced it back together into a work of art, a story. Maybe it’s the journalist inside of me or a sudden thirst for a good story, but I was drawn to Brica Wilcox’s D/diamonds.

Using red string, the artist connect vinyl text, magazine images, and a glass-encased gold ring holding cubic zirconium to tell a sad, but intriguing story of marriage and divorce, marketing schemes and reality.

I won’t ruin the ending, but with any good story, D/diamonds left me a little heart-wrenched, still wanting more, and that surprisingly pleasant verbal reaction of “wow.”

So Why Theory. It’s something to ponder, something to discuss and perhaps rant on for a bit. However, let the art speak for itself and these artists shall spin you a tale.

CalArts MFA Graduate Exhibition: Why Theory on show from now til June 27 (

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