With the countdown to Commencement well underway, RISD’s graduate class of 2022 stepped out of their studios to celebrate and share their thesis work at RISD Grad Show 2022, which opened in the Rhode Island Convention Center on Wednesday evening. Although the work by this year’s master’s degree candidates is once again on view digitally at risdgrad.show, this is the first time since 2019 that pieces by artists, designers and scholars from all of RISD’s graduate-level departments have been gathered together under one (gigantic) roof.
RISD’s Campus Exhibitions team has transformed the 28,000-sf space into a network of smaller, custom-constructed galleries offering students more than 1,100 linear feet of wall space to display their expansive creations. The work on view offers glimpses of every stage of the thesis process—from sketches and drafts to completed work—and represents years of research, experimentation, critical thinking and production.
A mesmerizing installation by Bláithín Haddad MFA 22 PR called Liminal Beings (above) uses paper, wire, glass, light, luna moths and audio to draw viewers in. The piece reflects on otherness, nationalism and what it means to be an American.
Colorful glass vessels and table lamps by Tzyy Yi (Amy) Young MFA 22 FD were inspired by the natural world. Moon, for example, reflects on an early morning when the artist spotted “the biggest moon that [she had] ever seen. The experiences our eyes can capture are incomparable to any camera or phone,” Young writes. “I wish there was someone there to witness that moment with me.”
A series of cast glass blocks by Mandy Lee MFA 22 GL (see image, above) contain the imprints of tree species native to north-central Colorado, where the artist was raised. The project acknowledges two of the largest wildfires in the state’s history and “the loss of what was known, what was not, and what can no longer be known: forests, trees and other time-honed flora,” Lee writes. “Recasting is the transmutation—or change from one material to another—which physically embodies a vast slurry of eras, material, histories, places and scales.”
From large-scale paintings to atmospheric walk-in installations to free-standing sculptures, glass works, enchanting furniture and lighting designs, textured wall coverings and much, much more, there is something in the ongoing show to capture the imagination of every visitor.
—Simone Solondz / photos by Jo Sittenfeld MFA 08 PH
Visit risdgrad.show to learn more about this year’s graduate class.