by Stella Lorence
photography courtesy of Pexels
Nestled on the fifth floor of the College of Fine Arts lays a hidden gem of BU: Gallery 5. Unlike the more accessible Commonwealth Gallery on the first floor of CFA, Gallery 5 is entirely run by undergraduate BU students and showcases undergraduate work.
“Gallery 5 enhances the quality of life of the undergraduate students in the School of Visual Arts by offering them a professional exhibition space near their studios where they are able to plan, propose, and install their own exhibitions,” according to the CFA website. “Students consult with the Visual Arts Faculty and administrative office, but are responsible for all aspects of their exhibition’s curation, including selection, display, and advertising.”
To have their art featured in Gallery 5, artists submit an application and proposal the year prior to the exhibition. Exhibitions can be done solo or as a group, and the theme is at the discretion of the artist or artists.
“My exhibit was a lot of the pent-up aggression I’ve had for a bit now about being Asian-American and growing up in an area where that was really different and weird for me, and I feel like I never really got to express that,” Emily Raymond (CFA ’19) said. “I knew that I wanted to depict my experiences without painting Asians.”
Raymond’s exhibit featured seven oil paintings, and a wall of masks painted yellow with black features surrounding the words “My eyes and skin are not for you to try on at will.”
Artists are also responsible for the installation of their exhibits. Lucas Chaves (CFA ’19), whose joint exhibit with Mariska Feenstra (CFA ’19) opened on Thursday, March 21, said that setting up the exhibit was very fun.
“You have to get your level and measurements and make sure everything’s on center,” Chaves said. “It’s a lot of math, surprisingly. If things aren’t precise, it’s very clear, and you don’t want that at an exhibition.”
Chaves and Feenstra’s exhibit, which was inspired by Sigmund Freud’s essay “The Uncanny,” is called “The Uncanny Pair,” and plays with the idea of things being familiar but slightly off. Several of the pieces in the exhibit are self-portraits of Chaves.
“A lot of the shows end up being what people are already working on in their studios,” Chaves said. “But a lot of shows are group shows, so it’s fun to take what I’m working on in the studio and take what somebody else is working on in the studio and try and create a show that’s coherent and try to find the common thread between everything.”
Shows in Gallery 5 usually open on Thursdays and run for about two weeks. Admission is free, and the gallery holds the same hours as the CFA building.
“Shows like this—this is what we as painters are all working towards,” Chaves said. “Other people have midterms, we have critiques, and senior year, we have our shows, and they mean a lot to us. To put up a show and have people come and see the work and talk about the work is a really validating experience.”