On Saturday, I went to the Ontario College of Art & Design graduation exhibition. The OCAD building is next door to the Ontario Art Gallery and is world renown for the quality of its graduates. They have departments in Integrated media, Material art& design, Printmaking, Photography, Sculpture, Illustration, Industrial design, Drawing & painting, and Graphic design. Each year I go to experience the character and inclinations of the artists as expressed in their works. This year the gestalt appears to be ironic religious iconography and orientalism.
Any reader of my posts recognizes that I’m pretty tough on religious institutions which don’t practice what they preach but a sculpture of John Paul II being hanged in effigy one week after his beatification in Rome is over the top for me. It would be interesting to have a discussion with the artist as to his intent. I felt a subliminal aura of anti-clericalism among some of the exhibits and would like to explore its source.
The other trend is orientalism. I think that this has a lot to do with the number of Chinese students. Toronto has the second largest community of Chinese in North America after Vancouver and this is reflected in the student body of the college. Even with exhibits which didn’t have obvious oriental characteristics such as Chinese ideograms I sensed a certain use of space and technique reflective of that culture.
As usual there was the underlying sexual tension of many of the exhibits which I experience every year with nude well endowed women depicted in paintings and sculptures. I don’t know if this is due to the predominantly female student body or some other reason. It was also interesting observing the fashion sense of the students. One group appeared to be gothic Big Bird, Sesame Street meets True Blood. Another group was a Russian peasant girl/ Oriental chic fusion. And of course the perennial intense, artistic Jewish girl in high heels who looks like she just got back from a shiva.