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Friday, May 27, 2022 — Houston, TX

Faculty Slide Jam opens VADA season

By Kaylen Strench, Arts and Entertainment Editor     2/4/15 4:16am

When class is dismissed for the day, the Rice visual and dramatic arts professors are far from packing up and heading home. Though devoted to their students, these faculty members are not just teachers. In fact, they are all talented artists in their own right, putting in long hours to construct creative pieces worthy of national and international acclaim. 

Slide Jam

This Thursday, Feb. 5, they will get a chance to show what they’re made of at the fourth annual Visual and Dramatic Arts Faculty Slide Jam, a rapid-fire presentation of faculty art. The event, organized by VADA professor Christopher Sperandio, will showcase recent research, paintings, drawings and other projects created by Rice professors in a series of rapid-fire presentations. 

“[The visual and dramatic arts department] is comprised of a really diverse and  exceptionally talented group of people,” Sperandio said. “However, we’re often exhibiting nationally or internationally, very rarely in Houston. So this is a fun and informal way to get to see what we’re all up to.”

Each professor will have only five minutes to present their latest creations, some of which are colossal projects spanning over multiple months. Therefore, the event is fast, exciting and necessarily accessible to students, regardless of major or background in art.

“It’s really a snapshot of what the faculty are working on when they’re not in the classroom working with students,” Natasha Bowdoin, another VADA professor, said. “I think in a span of five minutes you can really only give a general overview. There’s no time to get into a lot of heavy art speak.”

Sperandio said the event is intended for all Rice students and that it has something to offer those of all art backgrounds.

“If you’re studying art, if you’re taking an art class or interested in taking one, or even if you’re just interested in what’s going on in the [visual and dramatic arts department], this is a great way to get information quickly,” Sperandio said.

Once the presentations conclude in Sewall Hall, VADA will serve sliders from Little Big’s and the night will continue with other art-centered events at the surrounding Sewall galleries. 

A Description of the Sun

8-10 p.m., Rice alumnus and emerging artist Logan Sebastian Beck will be introducing his new piece, “A Description of the Sun,” in the Emergency Room Gallery, located inside Sewall Hall. Sperandio said the piece, a sculpture that tracks the position of the sun as it moves across the sky, will have particular appeal for engineers.

Everything All at Once

At the same time, in the student-run Matchbox Gallery, located in the Sewall courtyard, new artist Melinda Laszczynski will be opening her new exhibition, “Everything All at Once.” Laszczynski’s work is an intriguing amalgam of painting, sculpture and installation that features bright colors and diverse textures and materials. 

She said the paintings in her show are inspired by cakes she saw at Wal-Mart. 

“I liked how, though I wasn’t interested in eating the cakes, they still made bright and interesting sculptures,” Laszczynski said. “So when I started these paintings over the summer, I used the same color palettes and pipetted out of pastry bags to create that cake aesthetic.”

Laszczynski’s work will also feature a variety of mixed materials, including everything from hair clips to glitter. 

“I’m very interested in this contradiction between materials,” Laszczynski said. “I wanted to combine low-craft materials — things found around my studio, or purchased in hardware or dollar stores — with high-art aesthetics. The effect, I hope, ends up being this immersive, playful thing you want to explore.”

Laszczynski also said that although she is a graduate student at the University of Houston, she thought Matchbox was a perfect place to display her work.

“Since I’ve been working more with installations and sculptures [versus two-dimensional paintings], I’ve been much more interested in the space where my work is being shown,” Laszczysnki said. “The small scale of Matchbox is really appealing, especially that window-front, because when you’re looking at the work from the courtyard it flattens out the view and makes the installation look like a painting, but when you’re inside the space it makes the work larger-scale for the viewer, it pulls them in. It’s just a really nice little space.”

Along with the exhibition openings, a DJ will be playing live music in the courtyard and food and drinks will be served. 

The Faculty Slide Jam will start at 7 p.m. in Sewall 301. Matchbox Gallery will open at 7 p.m. and Emergency Room will open from 8-10 p.m. 

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