For those who have yet to catch “F/16 Collective: unBlocked,” part of the 2012 FotoFest Biennial by University of Houston’s photography students, you have until Friday to check it out at The Jung Center.
The collective is comprised of members of UH’s 2012 Photography and Digital Media graduating class and serves as the group’s senior-thesis exhibition.
The show’s curator, Mary Magsamen of the Aurora Picture Show, chose the specific pieces displayed. Her job is to find pieces that work well with the art of other students in the show and to layout a cohesive floor plan for the work.
Melissa Tran, one of the artists, said she loves what photography stands for.
To her, it is more than referencing a specific moment in time; it’s an art form that can be used just as successfully as any of the traditional arts to convey conceptual thought processes and ideas, all while holding certain nostalgia within each photograph.
A lot of her recent work is focused on idealizations of beauty and the gender roles associated with them.
“In the way the photographs have been mounted, they are treated as objects and, to some, reference hyper-realistic paintings,” Tran said. “Even as photographs, they appear hyper-realistic.”
Tran said that the quality of the work “lends to the unrealistic expectations that society gives to women,” for which she listed the push of cosmetics and accessories like false eyelashes as examples.
In her sculptural piece “Mimic (His & Hers),” Tran was inspired by an event at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston that featured contemporary artist Janine Antoni.
“I was inspired to make connections between mass-produced items that were made to replicate parts of the body for everyday use — specifically, as shown in my work, hangers as representational of shoulders.”
According to The Jung Center website, “unBlocked” references the UH School of Art’s Photography and Digital Media block program from which the 16 artists are graduating.
The students produced a wide range of contemporary work for the exhibition — everything from video and three-dimensional installations to a host of photographic processes learned during their time at UH.
The works, the press release states, are both conceptual and documentary.
The members of F/16 Collective are: Paolo Aninag, Michael Burgas, Brittney Connelly, Danielle Fessler, Os Galindo, Vanessa Godden, Brittney Imwald-Mahar, Nicole Henderson, Daniela Hernandez, Fatmeh Hmaidan, Brittney Imwald-Mahar, Claudia Melgar, Gisela Parker, Thais Verissimo, Megan Rath, Ian Russell and Tran.