The work of five notable graduates from the School of Fine Arts is featured at Contemporary Art Galleries. The show is the Galleries’ first exhibition of artwork by alumni.
| Colin McMullan, MFA ’05, left, in front of his artwork “Pulling Together: The Legends of Willimantic,” speaks with Richard Klein, curator of the Alumni Biennial (One) exhibition at the Contemporary Art Galleries.
|Photo by Frank Dahlmeyer
Galleries director Barry Rosenberg wanted to showcase the exemplary talents of some of the University’s most creative and accomplished graduates.
The exhibition, Alumni Biennial (One), is a deliberate reference to the prestigious national biennial exhibition hosted by the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan.
“To be able to bring back these artists for a show is exciting,” Rosenberg says. “These artists are making a significant impact on the contemporary art world.”
Richard Klein, exhibitions director for the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Conn., served as the exhibition’s curator.
“UConn has an incredibly strong program, and the challenge of the selection process was in choosing a small group of artists who could represent the range of accomplishment exhibited in its alumni,” Klein says.
|A work by Afarin Rahmanifar, MFA '99, part of the Alumni Biennial (One) exhibition on display in the Contemporary Art Galleries.
|Photo supplied by the Contemporary Art Galleries
“The five artists I selected also represent a cross-section of contemporary practice, including painting, sculpture, graphic design, video, and performance. If there is a thread that ties these artists together, it is their willingness to experiment and not be tied down to a particular medium or genre.”
One of the key features of the exhibit is a 19-foot wooden sailboat constructed by Colin McMullan (MFA ’05) and Ted Efremoff (MFA ’06).
The boat – built with the help of local shipwrights and close to 100 volunteers from the Willimantic community – is the centerpiece of a multimedia courtyard exhibition that also features video footage of the boat’s construction, its journey down the Connecticut River, and interviews with project participants.
McMullan, aka “Emcee C.M.,” focuses his work on people – their work, their lives, their struggle – by employing spontaneity, teamwork, play, adventure, volunteerism, learning, and discovery.
Now located in New York, McMullan has presented projects in Germany, Spain, South Korea, and Serbia.
He has done collaborative projects in public spaces in New Haven and New York, and has shows this year at the Bronx Museum and Artists Space in New York.