View Gallery curatorial assistant Maggie Hinbest adjusts the installation piece Grow by Sara Holmes as part of the student exhibition Text at the View Gallery. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Vancouver Island University’s juried student art show comes to View Gallery

Exhibition ‘Text’ explores connections between art and language

Maggie Hinbest says she’s long been interested in the relationship between language and art and their ability to influence one another.

The fourth-year VIU visual art student and curatorial assistant at the school’s View Gallery drew on that concept when developing a theme for this year’s juried student art show.

“It is an idea that many students are considering with their work and it’s a very contemporary conversation to have through visual art for sure,” Hinbest said.

The exhibition, entitled Text, will occupy the gallery from its March 8 opening until April 12. It is Hinbest’s first show she is curating on her own as part of her independent study in museology class.

The exhibition was open to all VIU students and features 17 works by 14 visual art, graphic design and social science students. Hinbest said she received “a really diverse range of responses to the theme.”

“We’ve had people from different disciplines submit work, which is always exciting to see artists from different parts of the university come together,” she said. “So it’s kind of a display of not only the visual art department but also just the artistic community of VIU.”

View Gallery curator and VIU art professor Justin McGrail said for the last 20 years there has been a growing interest in connecting art and language in the art world. He said he saw a lot of text-based shows on a recent trip to New York City.

“It makes the works accessible while not reducing their ability to be cutting-edge and avant-garde. It’s a common thing that brings someone in, so in that way it’s something that people share, language, and it’s a way of interpreting,” McGrail said. “Because sometimes just looking at a picture when it’s an abstract painting is hard for people, but sometimes if you have the words there it gives you a device in because you can say the words and then you can think about what the words mean and that can explain perhaps what the artist was trying to get you to think about.”

Text comes on the heels on the View’s last show, Conversari, which similarly dealt with themes of communication. Hinbest said “it’s nice to have the shows play off each other.” Among Text’s featured pieces are paintings, sculptures, ceramics, mixed media and audio works inspired by the word ‘text.’

“I am happy with the results and I’m really excited to see students working in new ways and kind of pushing themselves out of the box a little bit,” Hinbest said, later adding “I’m hoping that visitors have a chance to experience what students are working on currently with contemporary themes and new ways of thinking about language and how we navigate language through art.”

WHAT’S ON … VIU student art show Text opening reception at the View Gallery on Friday, March 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. Show runs until April 12.

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