by Cory Oberndorfer
This past Saturday, Irvine Contemporary closed its Introductions3, their annual exhibition of recent art school graduates. From their national call, the selection committee chose 12 artists from over 250 submissions. The eclectically curated show included paintings, sculpture, installation, photography and animation. Some of the highlights for me were Maura Brewer's meticulously starched tuxedo shirts folded into an origami-like structure, Erin Colleen Williams's hybrid sculputral items which blend the look of patent-pending inventions using technology culled from the last 150 years, and the collaborative video project of Stephanie Williams & Jesse Thompson. With imaginative and highly styled sculptured figures and miniature set, the pair create an animated video story of a child creating a story from an overheard conversation and phrases found in the bible.
Overall, the show presented a positive outlook for the future of emerging artists, but my major point of interest in this show lies in Irvine's selection committee. There are many shows that curate recent grads, but most are chosen by gallery directors or a juror who is usually an artist, critic, curator or one who is linked to arts management. Irvine instead chose a panel of area collectors. These are art enthusiasts who promote the creation of new work and support the success of artists through their own purchases. Through this process, these collectors have a direct influence on the work that is introduced to the public. Whether their decision-making is based on long-term investment or a simple matter of taste, they have the ability to give us an idea of the appeal and marketability of these chosen artists.