By Matt Calamia
Stony Brook University is known throughout the world for its successful science and engineering programs, but what about art?
Julianne Gadoury, a second year student in the University’s Masters of Fine Arts, has received attention for her work in the art gallery located in the library, which is rotated every 15 days among the other art students. Her show is entitled “Please Stand By,” and ran from Feb. 25 to March 7.
The artists have 15 days total in the room, which includes setting up the room for the exhibit, the show times itself, and the cleanup. At the end of the 15 days, the room must look exactly the way it did when the artist started.
“You need to think of the entirety of the production,” said Gadoury inside the gallery as she began the moving out process. “I only allowed myself three days to install. All the pieces were all done before they came in. The setting up took about 20 hours total.”
Gadoury, who began her undergraduate art study in the fashion field, focused her exhibit around social issues and everyday repetition.
“In our daily lives, we repeat ourselves over and over again,” said Gadoury. “We find comfort in it, and that we don’t think outside of what we see outside that zone.”
One piece in the gallery was of Gadoury herself. It showed 30 photographs of her in her waitressing uniform, again showing the repetition in her own life. “I’m talking about myself,” she said, “and I don’t want to ever be accused of pointing a finger and saying, ‘This is what you do.’ I do it too, and so does everyone.”
“I wanted to make sure I was talking about things that have affected me personally in my own life,” she added. “I think of social art as more of a result of things that have happened politically, as opposed to things just talking about policy. I have more connections to the result.”
The next piece was a painting of people walking in a line to a cliff’s edge and falling, like lambs to the slaughter. She said the meaning behind it was, “You don’t ever realize the repetition in the systems you’re involved in every day…you repeat and follow what your boss says, what your teacher says, what the media says.”
“I tried to get people to think more critically of where they’re getting their information from,” said Gadoury.
Other pieces in the gallery had more political influences. One piece depicted deformed humans drinking from gasoline cans with cobs of corn at their feet, while another showed people kneeling up to a Cadillac Escalade, which is open to interpretation as to why they’re doing so.
“I used to make art that seemed more under the definition of political art,” said Gadoury. “One of the things I don’t like is how people don’t want to hear about politics. That’s what a lot of my art is about now. It’s about being a bystander and not wanting to hear about these things.”
Gadoury feels that because art isn’t a big part of education, people don’t appreciate it as much. “I feel that since we don’t have this instilled value of art from an early age that a lot of people aren’t walking into an art gallery and are really intimidated,” she said. “They feel that they’re supposed to walk in here and get it, and if I don’t get it, that they’re stupid.”
Gadoury wants visitors to have opinions of their own, even if they are completely opposite of her own.
“I already know why I created these works,” she said. “What’s more interesting to me is their interpretation and what they’re getting out of it.”
“That is one of the reasons why art is so powerful,” she said with a slight pause. “We’re all different people with all different experiences. We all see things differently. You can look at artwork and get 100 different answers.”