‘colorless green ideas sleep furiously’: Block Museum to showcase work by fine arts students


Source: Jessica Martin

Artwork by Jessica Martin. Martin, Shai-Lee Horodi, Hyun Jung Jun and Hamilton Poe will have their work displayed at the Block Museum of Art from May 2 through June 23.

Emily Chaiet, Reporter

Artists Shai-Lee Horodi, Hyun Jung Jun, Jessica Martin and Hamilton Poe stare at a blank piece of paper. Crayons, markers and Prisma pencils are scattered across the floor. They each grab the artistic tool of their choice, begin drawing in a corner and keep rotating the sheet of paper until their masterpiece is done: a collection of colorful doodles and sketches reminiscent of a young child’s artwork.

This is the first piece that the four second-year Art Theory and Practice Masters of Fine Arts students created together in preparation for their thesis exhibit, which will wrap up their two-year master’s program. The title of the project, “colorless green ideas sleep furiously,” was created by Noam Chomsky as an example of a sentence that is grammatically correct, but semantically nonsensical.

“All of our work has a fantasy element to it and a little bit of nonsense and irreverence, so I think the title fit perfectly,” Martin said.

The four artists will display their work at the Block Museum of Art from May 2 through June 23. Martin said the project will feature an array of artistic mediums such as paintings, photos, videos and sculptures.

Each student was provided their own workspace to finish their thesis project. And while the students worked on their pieces separately, their work will be showcased together in the Block Museum of Art. Martin said they had the freedom to create whatever they wanted and to come up with the title for the exhibit.

Martin added that the exhibition also allowed them to collaborate through critiquing each other’s work, talking about the underlying themes of the thesis and looking at what their peers have created. She said with this collaboration came with compromises.

“It’s about finding a way to integrate our practices together when we have such different work,” Martin said. “You have to sacrifice a lot. It really is just putting their best pieces next to my best pieces.”

Jun, whose work will be featured in the showcase, said she had little experience working alongside other artists before this project. However, she added that now she feels like she has gained valuable teamwork experience she will use even after graduation.

Though the mix is eclectic, she said she likes how the pieces fit together in the space.

“There are a lot of connections between different works in the room now,” Jun said. “Everything looks random and different at first, but as you spend more time, there are a lot of similar things.”

Caroline Claflin, communications coordinator at the Block Museum, said the museum has provided the space for the Art Theory and Practice students to display their work for the past decade.

The layout of the exhibit has changed over the past few months and is continuing to evolve alongside artists’ work, Claflin said. The final exhibition will be installed this Sunday.

“We are always so thrilled and honored to present the work of budding artists as they make their debutant preview from the academic world and into their post MFA exhibition,” Claflin said. “It’s keeping in the spirit of the Block as a center for innovation and thought.”

Along with the design and carefully chosen mix of work, Martin said she hopes people will appreciate the playfulness of the exhibition. She said the overarching theme is the magic and nonsense of all the pieces.

“This is a type of art making that feels good,” Martin said. “Even though we’re trained to be professional artists here, this is the raw unskilled fun part of art making.

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