Okay, I went back (first visit here) to VCU's first round thesis shows and was able to spend more time with stuff so here are some more introductions -
Marius Valdes - I saw a film he made earlier this year at a Flat International show about this little cute thing, some kind of unwanted mutant, that gets out of it's jar and encounters the scary world. Here in the gallery he had hundreds of these little unwantables, each unique and super cute. They're about the size a finger at most. Super cute!! I took two. I'm not sure if I was supposed to.
Michael Lease - I can't believe he did this. Michael submitted his own In Memoriam piece to the Washington Post and they printed it. His picture is right there along with a short memorial. I heard that he didn't tell anyone and upset a number of people. Wow. It's so weird to look at a real page of death notices and (a) see someone you know and (b) know that he is not dead. I like this piece because it upsets me - I'm upset that he has gone somewhere he doesn't belong and has defiled the page.
Michael also has a big photo/text installation of people that he used to be very close to but are now no longer in his life. Pictures of ex-girlfriends and childhood friends along with short remembrances.
You can see Michael's piece in the April 10, 2005 Washington Post.
Ryan Mulligan - Ryan has a small room installation called Defense is the Best Defense. There is a drawing on the wall of the Anderson Gallery building and a bunch of ways to defend it or escape, a video of Ryan in a corner of his studio swinging shovels and crowbars at unseen (zombie visiting artist?) assailants, and another video of people reading lines from movies like Independence Day. The room is full of tools and planks of wood, probably to barricade the door and window with, but it looks like he either got away or the zombies ate him.
This room is an act of desperation and it works.
The second round of thesis shows opens Friday, May 6th.