The end of the school year marks the start of the annual grad exhibition at UTM’s Blackwood Gallery. The show celebrates the art and art history graduates from the UTM/Sheridan program and offers a diverse look at the talent our campus offers.

The show is split into two halves. The first exhibition opened with a reception in the Blackwood Gallery on March 14 and will run until March 25. The second half of the exhibition will run from March 28 to April 8.

Entering the Blackwood Gallery for this first half of the exhibition, I was struck by how full the space seemed despite the relatively small number of pieces on display. This isn’t a bad thing; each piece stands out thanks to this minimal display approach, and it prevents the gallery from seeming cluttered.

The diversity of the work on display is also immediately evident. The pieces come in all different shapes,  media, and subject matter. From abstract shapes to portraits to the Wu-Tang Clan, this graduating class clearly has a wide range of interests, and each viewer is likely to find at least a couple of pieces that make an impact on them.

One very arresting piece: Katherine Adams’ “Levitating Larra” series. Her four large “Larra” pieces, displayed vertically on top of each other, depict a small “levitating” female character in a variety of settings. Her work is described as “an ongoing  project”, and her use of found wood, spray paint, and ink makes it easy to believe that the collection could be destined to expand into something even more prolific.

Ruth Ho also presents her work in a series, though on a considerably smaller scale. Her four black and white prints on paper have an organic, slightly amorphous feel to them, yet they all feel perfectly linked. Another ambiguous work comes in the form of Ebony Jansen’s “Couple: Face to Face”. The technique Jansen uses, copper plate embossing, creates a fascinating effect. At first, the piece looks completely blank, but on closer scrutiny textures and forms begin to appear. The piece suggests different things from different angles, and it’s easy to get caught  pacing back and forth and squinting at the wall, trying to figure it all out.

Easier to decipher but equally fascinating is Paulina Lwowska’s “Warm Paradise”. Her large impressionistic oil painting is striking immediately as you walk into the gallery. It depicts a canoe in a gorgeous warm climate, and her use of vibrant blues and greens for the water makes her work very inviting and pleasant to look at.

The first exhibition also features Samantha Banyard, Laura Biggs, Adam Boyce, Cory Burlingham, Joshua Duchesne, Shannon Goodhead, Dorothea Hines, Amanda Marino, Hannah Murray, Lauren Smart, Sarah Vassallo, and Kyle Weber. The second half of the  exhibition will feature Lauren Baker, Sera Bannon, Ashleigh Barry, April Braund, Elizabeth Connell, Daniel Deus, Stephanie Hagendorn, Sarah Lalonde, Katy Montica, Alicia Poirier, Katherine Salgo, Lesley Savoie, Melina Sevilla, Sandra Wezowicz, Nikki White, and Andrea Zadro.

The exhibition also extends into the e|gallery in the CCT building.

The opening reception for the  second exhibition will take place in the Blackwood Gallery on Wednesday, March 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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