Roski students create exhibit based on mold making

re:, a show featuring original artwork from eight students experimenting in the mold-making process, is the newest display in the Roski School of Art and Design.  Each piece copied the original design in a unique way, presenting work ranging from excessively functional sculptures to somber artistic statements about society.

The eight featured artists all created their pieces for the Fall 2016 course “Modeling and Mold Making,” taught by Professor Julie Schustack. The course itself introduced students to plaster mold making for various sculpture materials, including ceramics, styrofoam and bronze.

Each art piece in the exhibit features multiple copies of an original art piece with slight variations. Some pieces featured two similar pieces, while others included dozens of models created from their original mold.

Many of the art pieces delved into deeper themes related to mimicry, copying and molds. Consumerism and industrialization especially lend themselves to artwork in re:.

“My focus was really on American society and the consumer culture that infects it,” said Cameron Dehn, a junior majoring in fine arts.

He created two pieces featured in re: called “Three Headed Spoon” and “Swiffer Lamp.” The first piece shows a cross with three spoon heads while the second features three lamps that end in a ceramic swiffer mop.

Though the two creations use different materials and creative styles, they speak to a similar theme. Dehn felt that the idea of consumerism guided his two projects in an absurd, satirical direction.

“I was creating objects that make things more convenient, like with the ‘Three Headed Spoon,’” Dehn said. “But in a sense, it’s not convenient anymore.”

Sharif Farrag, a senior majoring in fine arts, also felt compelled by the concept of mold making.

“I wanted to be able to make replicas or serial objects, stuff I could make a mold of and crank out a bunch, like 10 or 20 of them … It becomes this process, and I really like that,” Farrag said. “And it’s this industrial thing — they use molds in making toothbrushes, making deodorant sticks. That’s a part of my work that I’m interested in, so I thought the class fit into it pretty nicely.”

Rather than having students curate the exhibit, Schustack initiated the exhibit’s application process.

“She did it all herself — she just applied. She didn’t even tell us or any of the class,” Farrag said. “She told me three weeks ago … I think we had a good group of students, and I feel like everyone was pushing themselves to make something substantial, so I think that’s why she wanted to showcase what happened in that class.”

Following the opening of the exhibit, Dehn reflected on how the experimentation conducted in the mold making class impacted his current artwork.

“Last semester, I was focused on looking at American and consumer culture in a negative light and a satirical way because I don’t agree with the way it exists,” Dehn said. “Now I’m more focused on promoting the earth and promoting positive things that I’m interested in rather than focusing on more satirical things.”

Farrag was also impacted by his work with Schustack and hopes that seeing his artwork and the exhibit will inspire viewers to be creatively active, choosing to create instead of acting as consumers in their daily lives.

Re: will be on display in the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery from Feb. 13 to Feb. 23. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, but it will host an opening reception for the exhibit from 5 to 7 p.m on Thursday. The exhibit is free and open to the public.