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Future of Now Highlights CU Denver Student Work

The show highlights environmental issues

The pandemic challenged the Emmanuel Gallery to shift the show online.
Photo: April Kinney • The Sentry

Recent graduate of the College of Arts & Media, Jessica Diaz, put together an inspiring exhibition that brings together artists from CU Denver and elsewhere. The Future of Now explores the environmental issues confronting society, with a diverse range of creative approaches. 

Originally scheduled to be on display at the Emmanuel Gallery in the week after the end of the Spring 2020 semester, the Coronavirus pandemic challenged art galleries and curators to adapt to a constantly changing situation. Emmanuel Gallery previously hosted their annual student exhibition for CU Denver completely online, so The Future of Now took a similar format. Like other exhibitions during the last few months, the opening reception took place on Zoom. Speakers included Emmanuel Gallery Director Jeff Lambson, CAM Dean Laurence Kaptain, and of course the curator, Jessica Diaz. 

Despite the changing circumstances, Diaz organized a pleasant collection of works that represent the artistic talent in Colorado. All the works present distinct viewpoints on the environment and sustainability, with art by Florence Blackwell, Chelsea Minter-Brindley, Emily Zeek, Michelle Franco, and others including Sentry writer and illustrator Taylor “Kat” Goodman.

Blackwell made a beautifully minimal and thought-provoking work called 23 Pairs that communicates the relationships between ancestry, genetics, and gender. Although it appears to be a black-and-white karyotype depicting the 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human genome, the description actually reveals that each of the white pairs are strands of hair from the artist. 

Minter-Brindley cast a series of bronze sculptures from old dresses for dolls hand-made by her mother while she was a child. With each of the three dresses showing a progression of deterioration, Alloy Typical: Innate forms of Discontinuity depicts the unsustainable gender hierarchies in society. Taking inspiration from the infamous bronze sculpture Unique Forms of Continuity in Space by Umberto Boccioni, she challenges the established social structure by showing its deterioration.

Zeek presents three works that each address some of the most pressing political issues. With her book of photography called Anti-State, she conveys the impact of the recent uprisings in Denver. Blending typography and powerful imagery, Zeek harmonizes with a wider movement seeking to bring fundamental change to society. “Donald Trump promised law and order and he delivered lawlessness and chaos,” exacerbating a political revolution and ensuing civil unrest. Other works by Zeek in the show include EcoLogical, a sculpture and book dealing with the connection between the environment and psychology, and Asking for It (Help), a flag-shaped sculpture made from reclaimed metal and fabric that encourages people to break the habit of not asking for help when they need it.

Stunning photography by Trent Davis Bailey and Beth Johnston show different views of the Colorado landscape, while Michelle Franco created a large-scale installation from a variety of different materials suspended by a network of wires. Titled Global Masquerade, Franco explains how “this work targets humanity’s need to make changes to benefit the planet. Each mask inhabits an interactive environmental issue while juxtaposing the idea of hiding behind a mask to avoid the issues.”

With a group of artists that brilliantly capture the issues facing society, Diaz organized an exhibition that helps to envision a new reality and a better future. Peruse the full exhibition from home on the Emmanuel Gallery website. 

This is a selection from the Nov. 18 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/317848/

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