Art exhibit offers intense, risky graduate work

By Michael Eilers

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Union Gallery is open again, with a show of graduate student work titled "The Transparency of Sex." Combining organic materials, fabrics, paper and even beeswax, the three artists' works address issues of gender and sex roles from different perspectives.

Caitlin Masley, a graduate student in printmaking, presents a collection of work combining lithography, fabric, and cut paper. One image, titled "Dog Butt Dress," appears repeatedly in different combinations in several of her pieces. "Pretending to be the Holy Trinity, Again" is an assemblage of cut paper, stitching and lithographs, with written comments by the artist, addressing ageing and the female body.

Another piece by Masley titled "Dirty Honey" features several ragged pieces of heavy paper covered with words by the artist, creating a personal monologue that is coated in a sweet-smelling layer of yellow beeswax. The word "dirty" is scrawled across the composition in a diagonal line, tying the pieces together. Describing a series of reactions to being called "honey" in a harassing manner, the piece defuses a tense situation with its whimsical tone and unusual combination of materials.

Efthimia Paikos, a graduate painting major, uses fabrics, clay, and organic materials in a series of three-dimensional pieces. Torn scraps of wedding dresses and underwear are pinned to the wall in various contortions, representing the distortions of the female form required by the demands of fashion and societal standards. An unsettling piece called "Not Small Enough" consists of a simple cotton dress altered to have a two-inch waist.

Esther Granata, a ceramics graduate student, contributes an assemblage of long, ceramic posts interspersed with leather strips and surrounded by a group of smaller ceramic shapes. The small globe-like pieces have gaping openings stitched with crisscrossing threads, giving them a threatening, spooky appearance.

While marked by unusual use of materials and an aggressive approach to their subject matter, the pieces seem extremely autobiographical, and may seem obscure to the viewer. The repetition of forms and shapes frustrates an easy interpretation, and the severe minimalism of the pieces creates a stark, moody atmosphere.

This collection deals with feminist issues, but in an aggressive, non-traditional fashion. The result is an intensely personal show and a glimpse at artists willing to take risks with their material.

The Union Gallery hours are extremely sporadic because it is staffed by volunteers. Call 621-0764 for more info.

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