Monday, May 6, 2013

Exhibition Review: Priscilla Varner, persuasion

One of the photos from persuasion
Persuasion was Priscilla's first show here on UNR campus, as well as her first gallery exhibition to date. It consisted of several diptychs, with photographs of Parisian scenes mounted on glass, accompanied by several words of text mounted on another piece of glass: the words alluded to the images they were paired with, yet also had the ability to alter the viewer's perceptions of the images (or to persuade the viewer's to view the images in a certain manner).

Aesthetically the show was effectively and neatly displayed, but it was easy to negatively criticize upon first encounter. The lines of text seemed superfluous, a bit naive, and distracting, and did not do much for the images the text accompanied. Rather, the textual elements distracted from the images, which were aesthetically strong, visually interesting, and diversified in terms of content. Walking through the show, it was easy to shrug off the diptychs with a "seen that before" attitude. However, talking to Priscilla about her show altered my attitude toward it and replenished some intrigue and respect. Discovering that it was in fact the first exhibition of her life, that she was not an art student while she was an undergraduate, and that she is a mother of two children with a husband in the military, I had to applaud her for an artistic job well done, though I still shared with her some of my criticism. Looking forward to her next show, to see how the MFA program has affected her artistic practice and vision.

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