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Glass, Oil, and Blood: their link to humanity

“Glass, Oil, and Blood” is the latest art exhibition in the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (located in the Fine Arts building). The exhibit features work by three MFA students at UMBC – Melissa Penley Cormier, Ghazaleh Keshavarz and Jaclin Paul. Their work varies, but the overall message of their combined exhibit is one that reminds viewers of their humanity.

“Worry” is defined as “to touch or disturb something repeatedly, to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling, to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort, to move, proceed, or progress by unceasing or difficult effort, to feel or experience concern.”

Cormier catalogues a year of worries by placing a sample from a daily concern on a microscope slide for each day of the year. There are magnifying glasses over some of the slides to make them easier to see. Many of her slides feature dead spiders and wings from various other insects. Some slides are only small drawings of clocks. One of the slides is an “I voted” sticker.

Oil is an important part of daily life; even if not dealt with directly, many daily items are produced with oil, such as plastic. Keshavarz emphasizes the social importance of oil, particularly in Persian society. For part of her exhibit, Keshavarz stacked self-portraits, photographs, handwritten notes, and pages from books, magazines and newspapers and soaked them in motor oil.

Additionally, she uses video to present a self-portrait of herself being covered in oil. Video is paired with audio to capture the visually reflective qualities of oil in two of her other visual pieces: one that features different people speaking and another with the image of a girl in a river.

From having someone to steal dessert with to arguing over who gets shotgun in the car, anyone with siblings can account for the rich experience that comes with having brothers or sisters. For those without siblings, just imagine your life as is but with a lot more noise and no privacy.

Mostly composed of black and white media, Paul’s photography portrays and warps eight siblings, capturing the different aspects of relationships and personality within a family. In a dark room towards the back of the exhibit, there is a set of benches where someone can sit and listen to a recording of siblings talking with each other, perhaps at a family gathering. Despite not being familiar with the voices, one might feel nostalgic for their own sibling conversations.

“Glass, Oil, and Blood” is an incredible exhibit, bound to remind you of the relationship you share with yourself, the world and your family. It is on display until April 28.