Intriguing student show at Wayne State

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer

The season of student graduation shows is upon us, with the first at Wayne State University up through Feb. 12 in the Art Department Gallery.

The “Graduating Seniors Exhibition” is a small show, with no more than a couple dozen pieces on display. But this all makes for a quick and easy walk-through that’s well worth the time.

Among the best works are several watercolors by Robbie Aaron, whose study of a swingset in the wind, “Empty,” is an exercise in monotonal grace. It’s not easy to make something punchy when you limit yourself to shades of gray, but this simple, beautifully executed piece manages to be downright exhilarating.

Also intriguing, and utterly different, is Aaron’s colorful, geometric “Mask #6” — a nice indication of the artist’s range.

In the “now for something completely different department,” check out Nicoletta Sarris’ amusing and oddly cozy-looking “The Rocking Chair” — which she’s “upholstered” in squishy, gray nylon pods with little round heads.

If it all sounds a little weird, it is — but it’s also, at some hard-to-define level, big visual fun.

Callie Hoskins’ “Upper Persuasion” gives us a dazzling, psychadelic “X-ray” of two people kissing set against a tan-and-black paisley background.

And Evan Condron’s “Home,” rendered in rainbow colors of India ink, is an abstracted collage of jarring street signs organized beneath the looping wires of telephone poles. And don’t miss Condron’s “Seduction,” a pink-and-green diatribe against cigarettes.

Even more abstract is Ashley Nivison’s “Mark Diptych,” a red-and-blue textile gridwork created using the ancient Japanese shibori technique, which like tie-dye, involves binding, folding or twisting cloth — raw silk, in this case — to produce repetitive patterns.

The result is a highly satisfying geometric composition that reads like expensive designer fabric, all brought to life through the excellent choices Nivison made in the colors used.

Finally, the most-interesting photograph on display comes from Nicole Helegda, whose formally composed large-format picture of a hatchback trunk crammed with blue-plaid bags, “Hoarder #2,” is a visually arresting color study.






Through Feb. 12

Art Department Gallery,

Art Building,

Wayne State University

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tues.-Thurs.;

10 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.

(313) 577-2423