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Mixed Media

Art in the Open

The inaugural Open CFA offers an insider’s view of the creative process

Nate Hodge adds another layer to his live-painting installation.

Nate Hodge adds another layer to his live-painting installation. Photo: Ariel Namoca

By Mark Norris

Artist and second-year MFA student Nate Hodge is guiding visitors through his live-painting installation, an as-yet-untitled floor-to-ceiling abstract that presents his studio as a single, sprawling canvas. “Am I allowed to come in here?” asks a passerby somewhat hesitantly. “Of course!” Hodge responds enthusiastically. “That’s the point.”

Hodge was part of the Center for the Arts’ “Open CFA,” a one-day, building-wide celebration in November of the work—and work-in-progress—of UB’s students in the departments of art, media study, and theatre and dance. Combining the annual Master of Fine Arts Open Studios with dance performances, mixed-media installations and video screenings, the free, public event offered both a behind-the-scenes glimpse of artists’ studio work and an engaging, interactive exhibition.

“Semantic Satiation (words become)” by Marissa Caggiano (BFA ’14).

“Semantic Satiation (words become)” by Marissa Caggiano (BFA ’14). Photo: Ariel Namoca

“We’re trying out variations of the same idea, which is to get people into the center and introduce them to what’s going on here,” says Natalie Fleming, visual studies resources curator for the Department of Art. “The hope is to get as many of the departments within the CFA involved as possible, just to show people all of the different things that we’re doing in our studios and classrooms.”

In the first-floor atrium, dancers nimbly improvised alongside mobile light projectors. The Department of Media Study hosted a mini-festival of multimedia works in its second-floor screening rooms that included nonnarrative documentaries, Web code and poetry experiments, looped VHS installations, and more. As a fitting capstone to the student-driven event, works by art department alumni were displayed in exhibitions held in the Lower Gallery and the Project Space.