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End-of-semester RISD exhibition showcases students’ multimedia artwork

Exhibit features students’ final projects, themes portrayed include gender, sexuality, race

“Twelve: The 17th Annual Advanced Projects Juried Exhibition” will take place Dec. 7 at the Rhode Island School of Design’s Illustrations Studies Building Gallery. The exhibition, which is hosted by RISD’s illustration department, will feature an eclectic array of artwork created by 12 students enrolled in RISD’s “Advanced Projects” class.

The course, taught by RISD illustration department Senior Critic Leonard Long, requires each student to create one project with a theme of their choosing, which is ultimately featured at the exhibition at the end of the semester. The class proved challenging for students, as Long demands an incredible quality and quantity of work from its participants, said Sohum Chokshi ’18,who is taking the class at RISD. “We were actually going to call the show ‘Miles Before We  Sleep.’”

Despite the taxing nature of the course, students are animated about the upcoming exhibition. “It’s going to be amazing,” said RISD student Paul Meuser, who is a part of the “Advanced Projects” class and is studying illustration. Unlike a traditional art exhibition “where you walk around in silence,” “Twelve” will have a dynamic, lively atmosphere, Meuser added. There will be “music, food (and) a ton of people,” and viewers will have the opportunity to engage with the artists, he explained. “It’s just a more fun way to experience the art.”

Due to the open-ended nature of the assignment, students have chosen to express themselves through many forms of media. The exhibition will feature artwork ranging from paintings and comics to animations and sculptures. In addition to the wide range of media, the artwork also explores a diverse array of themes. RISD student Liby Hays, a comic artist, described how her project, which centers on conversations between three hikers — an overachiever, a flippant individual and a mediator — explores the relationship between talent, ingenious and ambition.

Meanwhile, a lot of the other comic works focus on issues of gender and sexuality, Hays said. Comics are “a great space for queer people to explore their narratives, without having to have a high budget,” she reflected. Other projects featured in the exhibition include a mixed-media animation on space and a series of paintings that explore albinism within the context of an African-American cultural identity, Meuser noted.

The purpose of the exhibition is two-fold: It allowed students to showcase their work and build their resume while also teaching them how to put on a show and make it look as professional as possible, Chokshi said. Each student is assigned a role — such as curator, jury and organizer, among others — and together, the students run the entire gallery. “It gives us a taste of how the real world works,” Chokshi said.


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