Gallery receptions were held Oct. 8 at the Museum of Art at 6:30 p.m. Artists such as alumna Claire Rosen were honored for their exhibitions.
Rosen graduated in 2006 with a degree in photography. She now works as a fine art and commercial photographer, video artist and educator. “Reverie” is the title of her current exhibition at the Museum of Art.
“I feel like the really important part of school is the peer critique opportunities,” Rosen said, reflecting on her time spent here. “You have to make work in an environment where you’re surrounded by a bunch of people who are also doing what you’re doing and get feedback on a work in progress.”
School projects gave Rosen the technical proficiency to articulate the same things in a more effective way once she graduated.
“I didn’t feel like I had a super specific style when I was here. It was sort of just trying things,” Rosen said. “I feel like I did a bunch of silly projects, but looking back they really were a foundation for the kind of work I’m making now.”
Rosen’s developed style is evident in her exhibition. Each photo is bold and dream-like within a surreal setting. There is one wall of photographs that feature an assortment of birds against colorful and intricately designed wallpaper. In the same room is a large piece titled “The Dreamers.” It displays a woman surrounded by pigeons that appear to be emitting lights. The subject matters differs in the photographs, but the hint of a fantastical element in each work ties the exhibition together.
Her inspirations are heavily apparent in “Reverie.” Rosen draws inspiration from fairy tales, children’s illustrations, fables, mythology, Pre-Raphaelite paintings, the circus, burlesque and even old medical journals. The work displayed is a combination of personal and commercial work that she has done.
“The curators and I were trying to create a dialogue about what art is,” she said. “We were talking about commercial work versus fine art work. Does one diminish the other or are they one in the same? I try, even in my commercial work, to bring it to a personal place so that it all sort of feels the same to me regardless of whether it is for a client or I do it for myself.”
She liked the idea for “Reverie” of showing her commercial and personal work together, but not labeling it to see if people could tell the difference. The Dreamers appeared to be personal, but it was actually a commercial work. The light emitting pigeons is a chandelier made of taxidermy pigeons. Rosen feels like there isn’t a huge difference in her commercial and personal work since it is coming from the same place.
Why did Rosen choose photography?
“For me, it’s not even about photography. If I could paint, I’d be a painter. It’s more about storytelling and being able to have the experience I want to have,” Rosen said. “It’s like a passport to experience life in a different way.”
“Reverie” is on display at the Museum of Art from Aug. 23 – Dec. 15.