Blake Gopnik goes looking for new talent in the Washington Post. Though he’s not crazy about most of what he sees, the critic does find two new names to vouchsafe back to us:
Two pieces of this student art, however, seem old beyond their years, even though their subjects scream youth.
At Irvine, which showcases early and mid-career artists, “Divers,” by Pratt Institute MFA Paris Mavroidis, is a three-minute animation that could have been snipped from a video game.
A sleek young woman in swimming suit and bathing cap climbs out on a high-diving board — a mile-high diving board — then leaps into the clouds. She falls, and falls, and falls, then is joined by other girls exactly like her, also in free fall. They cavort around each other’s bodies, like circus tumblers, as the camera itself swoops and floats among them as they plummet through the void. […]
At the other end of town, at Conner, we get something close to a real-life equivalent of Mavroidis’s vision. Kyle Ford, a young photographer with a master of fine arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, shows how we actually build a mechanized sublime for our own kids. In a 40-by-60-inch color photo, Ford depicts the Expedition Everest ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida. That ride reproduces, at 1/145th real size, the towering, mystical mountains of Tibet.
Ford’s photo shows them picture-postcard perfect, towering into blue skies and reflecting in a limpid lake at their feet. The photo is uncannily sharp, as though a Zenlike focus on the real has been achieved. But that sharpness also reveals the unreality in what we’re seeing. Take a second look, and you realize the mountain’s twin peaks are joined by scaffolds holding roller-coaster cars. A train-trestle bridge crosses the water at the mountain’s base, but it’s too small to impress: It makes the humans on it seem the height of rail cars. Specks of color dot the landscape — not alpine flowers, but the bright caps and T-shirts of Disneyfied guests.
Diving Into Highlights of Student Shows (Washington Post)