The Museum of Art Gallery located within Washington State University’s campus is currently presenting the Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition. This exhibit will be held from April 10th to May 9th. The Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibit is divided into six different sections. Each section includes and displays exclusive works of art created by six unique MFA graduate students: Zachary Kolden, Noelle Pflanz, Sam Cannard, Kevin Leiter, Phillip Mudd, and Jade Lowder. The entire exhibit is quite impressive. How a work of art relates to the audience and the level of complexity it posesses is what defines that masterpiece as “good art.
When visiting the museum, one will notice that the audience appears to puzzled. One will also notice that the audience doesn’t simply just glance over a work of art and continue to the next. The viewers of this exhibition slowly examine each work of art, trying to understand the purpose behind it. Each work of art displayed within this exhibit is not straightforward. If it were, there would be no desire to know more about the work of art. When art puzzling, the artist has succeeded by allowing their audience to really study the work of art they had created.
This “puzzling” characteristic the work of art holds, draws the audience in. There are two works of art that within the exhibit that really emerged from the rest of the exhibition were both created by Phillip Mudd: “Window Shopping Series” and “Memento. ” Both works of art were alluring, complex, and exceptional. MFA artist, Phillip Mudd, grew up just outside the Tri-Cities area, Beton City, Washington. The artist mainly focuses on aspects that he feels are important: questions of one’s identity, definitions of public and private space, capitalism, commercialism, culture, and how people interact with one and another.
Phillip Mudd’s “Window Shopping” piece, taken in 2014 to 2015, consists of eight framed digital prints that are hung on the left section of the Master of Fine Art Thesis Exhibition. Each of the photographs captures a different setting; and in this case, a different store. The photographer captures the interior of eight different boutiques from an outside perspective of the premises. The photographer did an impressive job of allowing his photographs to create a realistic atmosphere. Mudd had captured the photographs in a way where we, the audience, are able to visualize what he had observed when taking the pictures.
In the photographs, the only thing separating the photographer from the scenario taking place within the boutiques are the windows. The photographs are framed and put behind a reflecting glass to allow the audience to get a realistic feel of what it was like to be at that place and time. “Window Shopping” is an excellent example where Mudd incorporates relationships. As one studies the photographs displayed in the exhibition, one begins to notice that variety within the boutiques. Mudd’s “Window Shopping” series of photographs ties the expected and the unexpected together.
Some photographs are definitely less predictable and direct than others. For example, a more straightforward picture would be: the fourth photograph hanging from the left presents the inside of a Christmas store. There is not much interaction between the people within the store. When analyzing this picture, it gives the audience and indication that this photograph was taken during the winter time. The costumers within the store are all wearing thick layers, the reflection shown on the window shows blue christmas lights outside the boutique, and the store is filled with people (many who probably procrastinated with their Christmas shopping).
A more puzzling photograph in Mudd’s “Window Shopping” series would be: the third picture hanging from the left. This photo displays a miniature candy store. The environment is playful and colorful. One would expect this to be a store meant for children; however, all the costumers are middle aged adults. What makes this photograph even more peculiar is the employee. The man working the cashier has a scruffy beard, a stern face, and intimidating. There isn’t a single characteristic within this photograph that comes off as “expected. ” Its offbeat atmosphere generates many questions and draws the in a curious audience.
Phillip Mudd’s “Memento” consists of various digital prints captured in 2014. This piece is similar to “Window Shopping” in a few ways. “Memento” is also very puzzling. This work of art also provides the expecting audience with unexpected turns. This work of art consists of 22 framed photographs. Mudd was able to create a homey atmosphere. The frames the artist chose, resemble picture frames one would usually use withing their humble abode. The are 16 photographs scattered and hanging on the wall. The remaining six are framed and standing on a shelf the artist created below the photos hanging on the wall.
This arrangement shares a resemblance with the everyday living room. This comfortable aura allows the audience to feel as if they are looking a pictures proudly framed when visiting someone’s home for the first time. When observing photographs in an ordinary house, one would expect to see photographs of smiling children, pets, or a happily married couple. This is where Mudd excels to provide the audience with the “unexpected. ” Displayed in “Memento” are photographs of dead birds, contaminated cotton swabs, abandoned bakeries, dirty socks, and many other pictures of subjects one would not ever expect to see handing proudly in someone’s wall.
When a photograph is framed and displayed within someones home, it means that the subject within the photo is of importance to the owner. Because of this, Mudd generates various questions among his viewers. One will begin to wonder: Why would any other these objects matter to a person,” “What sort of peculiar human being would actually consider these items valuable,” “Why would one even feel the need to frame objects so little of worth? ” Mudd does an excellent job of creating a puzzling feel within his audience and leaves them more curious than they were to begin with.
The Master of Fine Arts Thesis exhibition included many outstanding artists. Though puzzling and complex characteristic are what made this exhibition outstanding. Artists, like Phillip Mudd, provided their audience with a combination of the expected and the expected withing thee art. Yes, the works of art within this exhibit are not straightforward; however, this is what makes the exhibition such a success. This exhibition and the puzzling works of art allows their audience to be intrigued and curious. The works of art displayed at this exhibition will leave the audience wanting to know more.