Student artist trio explores together

Exhibit at Union Gallery looks at the human condition from different perspectives and mediums

Brickman’s vibrant colours moments of pleasure.
Brickman’s vibrant colours moments of pleasure.
Love, Slabosz and Brickman are all ArtSci ‘14.
Love, Slabosz and Brickman are all ArtSci ‘14.

How does experience define us and connect us as humans beings?

The exhibit Bodies and Bonds on at Union Gallery, considers these questions through the collective works of BFA ’14 students Sarah Love, Magdalena Slabosz and Alexandra Brickman. All three artists work with oil on canvas.

Each artist’s work looks at the human condition. Together, they present a greater perspective through which to consider our individual and collective experiences as humans.

Love, who paints portraits of individuals from photographs she has taken, breathes life into the subjects she paints. You get the sense that she knows the individuals; has heard their stories and connected with them in some way. She captures a striking quality in the eyes of her subjects – a hopeless excitement, which is suppressed in the rest of their demeanour.

In Love’s “Self-Portrait”, she depicts two versions of herself. One explicitly aware of the viewer, and the other lost in thought, achieving a false sense of privacy.

The first is standing at the foreground of the painting. She is standing straight, wearing a buttoned-up sweater, and has a neutral expression. The second is sitting on the couch in the background appearing more relaxed, but there is a distant look in her eyes that suggests dissatisfaction. Both states display a distinct vulnerability.

Slabosz’s work establishes a more removed perspective of the human condition.

At first this is jarring, but there is something very grounding in her depiction of human beings as a single body. Slabosz leaves all her pieces untitled, denying them a specific identity.

The body is broken down in her work as she compartmentalizes various physical features of the human form.

One set of paintings focuses on hands. One hand is soft and graceful, and another is incredibly tense. An arm reaches out in the background, desperately grasping for something.

The aesthetic beauty and physical ability of the human form are put forth simultaneously. Slabosz displays the body’s strength, but also its susceptibility to suffering.

Brickman captures instantaneous moments in her work. There is a sense of speed about her pieces, where Love and Slabosz’s work slow down or even stop completely.

Brickman’s “Around We Go” depicts a mother and two young children on a theme park ride. Objects are blurred around them, recreating the exhilarating feeling of being on the ride.

It is not only large in scale but in content, demanding an immediate emotional reaction.

The colours are vibrant with a mix of blues and pinks that overwhelm the canvas. The subjects themselves are at the height of their emotions. They are beaming, captured in a moment of pure happiness.

That sort of instantaneous feeling of elation is addictive, and Brickman communicates it perfectly.

Bodies and Bonds presents a look at the human condition in its various states. The complementary works of the Love, Slabosz and Brickman broaden the viewer’s scope in considering this. Love’s shows her subjects in states of conflicted rest, Slabosz depicts the human form in its most corporeal, universal state and Brickman looks at defining moments of brief intensity.

Their work demonstrates an emotional connection between the artist and their subject.

Bodies and Bonds will be on display in the Main Exhibit of Union Gallery until April 16.

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