May 6, 2012

Toronto’s premiere art school has accumulated much over its 135 history, including a strong reputation and several letters from the alphabet. When I was enrolled there in the early nineties, we called it OCA. A few years later it got a “D” and was called the Ontario College of Art & Design. A “U” has recently been added to the institution’s acronym to indicate its university status. Enter OCAD U.

Each year I enjoy visiting the alma mater and checking out the year-end student show. Every year is different. It’s particularly interesting to gauge trends and currents that run through the students’ work. In past years, one could notice the prevalence of angels, fetuses, wall paper patterns, Apocalyptic visions, Gothic imagery and drippy paint.

This weekend’s 97th annual grad show had its own patterns and vectors. Traditional portraits, landscapes and still life studies seemed to be eclipsed by colourful abstracts in the Drawing and Painting department. Increasingly, projections and screen-based projects are out in full-force in all departments. No surprise here. Explorations into the idea of home and domesticity could be observed in the art of Melissa Jean Clark, Megan Campbell, Jean Kathleen Ferderber and Melissa Penney. I’ve recently noticed the anthropomorphism trend at other art shows and OCAD U is no exception. Enjoy the well-suited critters in the pictures below…

Ania Stypulkowski’s drawing

Katie Byrne’s illustration

Maria Cupania’s bronze