Exhibition Season


Dean of the School of Visual and Communication Arts, Linda Swanson. Photo by René Bjorheim

As the school year comes to a close, student art exhibitions fill up the schedule at SFUAD. “We’re just about hitting the time when the campus will be swarming with art,” says Linda Swanson. “In addition to student shows, you’ll be seeing lots of student work around a lot of different places.”

As dean of the School of Visual and Communication Arts, Swanson oversees several different departments, including Studio Art, Photography, Graphic Design and Digital Art. “I have a really good team,” she says. “Everybody is invested in it. It’s a team effort. No one teaches and just walks away.”

Swanson teaches the senior thesis class in Studio Art. The BFA thesis exhibition of the work of Claudio Cano, Jose Carrasco and Sarah Rollins opens May 1 at SFUAD’s Fine Art Gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. This comes just at the tail end of the first exhibition of senior work, “Bright Middle-Class Kids with Dominant Personalities,” closing on April 26. The show, at Red Dot Gallery on Canyon Road, marks the first time that students have gone off campus to present their thesis work. “They did a lot of work to make it happen,” says Swanson. “It’s really a big deal to present your work to the public.”

The show features art by Franco Andres, Brian Clinton, Frank Sankot and Caley Dennis. “We really wanted more visibility for ourselves and for the school,” Dennis says as she works on a wooden sculpture in the art barracks. “We wanted to take that step as professionals, showing our work in a professional setting.”

Dennis and her colleagues handled all aspects of setting up the outside show. “We had to be more on top of things than if we were doing a show on campus,” she says. The students hope to gain more exposure exhibiting their work in the hub of Santa Fe’s art world. “Regardless of exposure, it’s a great learning exposure.”

Dennis says she spent all of her time working in the barracks, preparing for the show, opposed to the six to eight hours she normally spends there every day. In addition to her thesis work, Dennis is preparing a kinetic sculpture to be used in Outdoor Vision Fest. The see-saw sculpture will appear in one of five tableau windows. “It’s a collaboration with the dance department. I’m dancing in it as well.”


Caley Dennis working on a sculpture for Outdoor Vision Fest. Photo by René Bjorheim

The annual extravaganza of visual splendor, which takes place May 1 from 8:45 – 10:45 p.m., combines the work of several different departments, including Studio Arts, Film, Dance and Creative Writing. Studio Arts students create large, three-dimensional objects, then project video onto the pieces to expand or change their meaning. “It’s like Halloween for adults,” says Linda Swanson. “It’s not scary, but it’s dark and you’re walking around seeing amazing things. And there’s a food truck instead of candy.”

Across town, near the Plaza, the Wade Wilson Gallery exhibits the third of three shows featuring SFUAD art. “It’s a beautiful show called ‘Stubborn Matter,’” says Swanson. The exhibition, curated by SFUAD faculty member David Leigh, includes the work of numerous SFUAD students, alumni, faculty, and guest artists. Other upcoming events for the School of Visual and Communications Arts include: the Graphic Design department’s “Ephemera 5” from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on April 24 in Alexis Hall, Mae L. Rymer’s BFA exhibition at Critical Space at 7 p.m. on May 11, and “Anarchy,” the BFA Graphic Design Thesis Exhibition at Fogelson Library and SW Annex from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. on May 1.

The work of senior Photography students go on display at the end of the semester as well. Four BA students, including Badr Zefran, Marcela Gutierrez, Rene Bjorheim and Ashley Costello, present the best of their work during the week of graduation. Gutierrez and Bjorheim plan to show portrait work and Costello will display several images from her series on patriarchs and firearms. Luke Montavon’s senior show, “Desaparecidos,” opens from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. on May 1. The show documents the mass abandonment of buildings in Juarez due to the drug war. Montavon says he has the usual jitters about putting his work on display, but he feels very strongly about his body of work. “Desaparecidos” will remain on display through August of 2015.