The annual Stamps senior exhibition, Figment/Fragment, is a showcase of the year-long work of seniors at the Stamps School of Art & Design— “Art & Design” encompassing just about anything and everything you could imagine within those spheres, from 4D installations to traditional painting to wood-cut prints to dirt collections. The exhibition is arranged within a massive maze of large cubicles, each cubicle holding the work of one student, arranged neatly and creatively within a few square feet. As you could imagine, the experience of the exhibition is just as diverse as it is impressive. The work is symbolic and experimental, often exploring aspects of the artist’s identity in an unconventional process and molding together multiple mediums. The space echoes with the sounds, lights, and moods of each work, waiting to be explored.
I was particularly captured by the work of Alyss Munson, titled Dreams Ashore. Their surreal work draws together the concepts of the human experience and technology, through overlapping mediums of printmaking, weaving, and oil painting. The multimedia work explores the complications of modern identity through oceanography and marine life motifs, situating the subject in vast open water and ocean-floor ecosystems. It may sound like a lot, but like the work of countless other Stamps seniors, Alyss Munson has a way of expertly tying together far-reaching concepts, forming a beautiful and comprehensive mosaic of their artistic identity.
Another work that struck me was Multifaceted by William Mizer. He explores trauma and healing through these layered, transparent film photographs, portraying black-and-white portraiture and abstract scenes as narratives building on each other. I found this medium to be completely new to me, and I was intrigued by the way the layers of film interacted with each other, forming a narrative— and also intrigued by how he had reached this medium as the most ideal mode of expression. I was blown away by the creativity within each space.
Michelle Knappe’s Will You Sleep With Me? took the form of a life-like bedroom, complete with a bed, nightstand, and miscellaneous objects. The artist encourages the audience to walk through the space and interact with the bed and hand-made quilt; themes of isolation and human connection are communicated through the audience’s interaction with and perception of the quilt, which reveals delicate motifs sewn into its underside. I found that exhibitions like this, which encourage the audience to immerse themselves and explore, caught my attention the most.
Figment/Fragment was a beautiful display of the diversity within Stamps— the diversity of stories, of identities, but also of creative modes. I left the exhibition feeling more inspired to experiment and express myself without the bounds of genre or medium.
The exhibition is free to attend and easily accessible within the Stamps building! Figment/Fragment runs through the end of the month, so be sure to stop by and browse the student work if only for a few minutes! I especially encourage U-M students who haven’t seen Stamps artwork in person to attend— there is so much talent within this school, and it gives me so much pride to see it on display.
Featured image: I’m Home Here by Caitlin Martens