I found the title of the first Hartnett Gallery show of the semester a bit presumptuous, considering that the title is “splashes” and the works have yet to make one.

When those who attend the opening are more concerned with the catering than with the art being presented, it’s not the best sign.

In “splashes,” artist Masha Ryskin delves into a mixed bag of media, including intaglia ? a type of textile ink ? film and animation. The intaglia was not a surprise, since Ryskin has been working in this medium for some time, but “splashes” is her first foray into film.

When asked to summarize her conceptual framework concisely, Ryskin stated her works were about “residues, water, movement of water and layering.” This seems a rather narrow focus. Her works are so abstract that the only hint at this idea is in the title of the exhibit.

Ryskin’s concept that the stains left by tea bags can be seen as traces of people’s activities and her statements like “water makes the bettering” beg the question, “So?”

Her works on their own are aesthetically pleasing. They’re sparse and delicately designed abstractions with fragile lines and cool tones.

This style seems rooted in her influences from Japanese art. The incorporation of an installation piece did add some depth to the show.

However, the decision to place a television playing a recording of a moving stream behind the translucent sheets hung from the ceiling was questionable.

The few students I polled on their feelings about the show were not awed. Another student, speaking off the record, used the term “crap.” It wasn’t only students who were unimpressed.

I noticed certain professors of the Art History Department leaving before they were forced to endure the artist’s talk.

Though the popular consensus seemed to be overwhelmingly negative, I do recommend a visit as you pass through Wilson Commons.

See what you think for yourself. It is definitely worth a look, even if refreshments are no longer being served.

Berlin can be reached at lberlin@campustimes.org.



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