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First annual Art Crawl shines a spotlight on SBU student artists

The URECA exhibit, above, is being showcased in the SAC Art Gallery. More art around SB campus can be found at the Wang Center and the Alloway Gallery in the library.
The URECA exhibit, above, is being showcased in the SAC Art Gallery. More art around SB campus can be found at the Wang Center and the Alloway Gallery in the library. RENA THOMAS/THE STATESMAN

The Shirley Strum Kenny Student Arts Festival was a celebration of creativity, bringing light to the hidden gems of Stony Brook’s various art galleries.

Last Thursday’s first annual “Art Crawl” presented the opportunity to appreciate student and professional work in 30-50 minute segments.

Graduate Master of Fine Arts student Nicole Hixon sits on the committee of the Shirley Strum Kenny Student Arts Festival, also known as the SSK. Hixon proposed the idea of an art crawl in an effort to promote the galleries in this fast and fun way.

“I was getting tired of students not knowing all the different venues of where to find student art on campus” Hixon said.   

The first stop on the crawl brought viewers into a minimalistic world of interactive installations, video and open space in the Staller Center’s Zuccaire Gallery. This gallery Features master thesis pieces by Hixon, as well as other Master of Fine Arts students Catherine Katsafouros and Fiona N. Cashell.

Hixon’s piece, “The Nest,” provides a safe space for members of the community to come together. The four swings around “The Nest” represent the four directions, accompanied with one of the four natural elements.     

The next stop on the tour was the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, also known as “URECA,” exhibition in the Student Activities Center Gallery, led by intern Dali Jung. Annually URECA sponsors undergraduate student work nominated by faculty.

The crawl concluded with a closing reception of Swiss “sound architects” Zimoun and Flo Kaufman’s exhibit called [KE]3. Dozens of people flooded the Simons Center to enjoy some wine and cheese as they said farewell to the installation.

The artists’ work marries technology, kinetic sound, science and art—making the installation seemingly perfect for the venue that specializes in geometry and physics research and education.

The rumble of dense cotton balls bounced off cardboard boxes set a strangely calm background sound originating from his piece “25 cotton balls, 3 screens, 25 cardboard boxes.”

This sound overlapped with the hum of metal wires tapping against a white wall in “175 prepared dc-motors, 150 filler wire.”

The wires left waves of graceful dark markings on a white wall, an unplanned aesthetic to the piece. Infusing multiple senses into one artistic experience emulates the beauty of sound architecture.

Zimoun actually spoke at the Simons Center earlier in the year and explained his simple sound systems with complex behaviors. He said he never gets the same sound twice.

“We hear what we see,”  Zimoun said. “It is adding something visual to a sound or adding a sound to a visual.”

Students had hands-on experience with the initial installation of the piece. They had the opportunity to spend time with Zimoun and his students assembling the three installations.

Usually Zimoun’s work is based on site-specific installations, in which case he will go to a space or be invited by an institution to show his work.

He often then creates something that will fit that particular space and only assemble one focal point piece.

“We decided that it would be wonderful that he would show several pieces so the students and the community at large would be able to become more familiar with how he works,” Art Program Director/Curator Lorraine Walsh said.

As The SSK Arts Festival moves along the month of April, ending on the 28, more shows and crawls will be showcasing Stony Brook’s finest.

The next crawl will be Thursday April 23 at 3 p.m. in the SAC Art Gallery. It will feature work from MAMA, or Modern Art By Modern Artist.

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