Vancouver Island University’s visual art BA grad show is going ahead, but not as originally planned.
Last week the graduate exhibition, Pandemonium, opened. But instead of taking place at the school’s View Gallery, the show is taking place at www.pandemoniumviu.com.
The website was spearheaded and designed by graduating art student Brianna Winsby as a response to VIU cancelling or postponing in-person classes and events to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“As soon as they pretty much announced that we wouldn’t be doing any sort of large gathering I figured that the exhibition was out of the question,” she said.
Winsby, who last built a website for her wedding, presented a sample of what a virtual art show could look like to students and faculty and she said “everybody just got on board with it.” She said it was important for the show to go on to preserve some sense of normalcy during this time and to ensure “that studying and creating all of our works was not for nothing.”
“I knew that a lot of the students were quite upset that we didn’t have a way to close out the year so I thought, ‘Why not just make the entire exhibition online?’” she said.
Pandemonium, subtitled ‘The Unofficial Graduation Exhibition,’ launched on April 28. Winsby said the name is a play on the the word pandemic while also alluding to the “chaotic state” of the world and the challenge of organizing a show with “one of the largest grad classes that we’ve had.”
The show features more than 100 photos and videos of work by the 17 graduating students, including paintings, sculptures, prints and textile and mixed-mixed media pieces. There are also links to the artists’ portfolios and viewers can sign a virtual guestbook.
Winsby said all of the art is from this past year, but with COVID-19 restricting studio access some students had to improvise.
“Some of the students, because of the closure of facilities on campus, they weren’t able to complete their projects so a few of them managed to create something entirely new in the last couple of weeks, which was incredible to see,” she said. “And some still made what they were unable to finish look amazing.”
Pandemonium can be viewed here. The page will be available to the public for the next two years.