March 6 2013 04:29 PM

Open studios and conference is a peek at the university's graduate-school happenings

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"Screen Test #!," a video still from a project by Matthew Savitsky on view at Open Studios.

Since the Structural and Materials Engineering (SME) building opened at UCSD last September, there's been an onslaught of fascinating work being created there, especially in the school's Department of Visual Arts, which has more than lived up to the legacy of experimental work UCSD is known for in its art, theater and music departments.

From 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, March 9, the public can tour the SME building's graduate-student studios, and before that, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., folks can check out a symposium, "The Nature of Space." Attendees will see and learn about some of the work being produced in the department, through discussion sessions, screenings of video projects, art displays and more (go to visarts.ucsd.edu and click "Events").

"What we're offering to the population of San Diego is a unique thing," says Matthew Savitsky, a visual-art grad student who's organizing the event. "To walk into an artist's studio is exciting and enticing because you can see things in practice and in their natural setting, not in an intimidating art space. You're closer to its source."

Among the work to be shared is an experimental gardening project taking place in Los Laureles, an impoverished section of Tijuana, and an ambitious, nine-channel video installation by Adrienne Garbini in the main gallery. Garbini's thesis show features the repetitive building and destruction of ceramic smiling faces.

"People will see things they won't immediately identify as art," he says. "It's really exciting to be here at this time when everything is being figured out and feeling like the students have a say. We have room to shape where things are going. It's an interest way to work as an artist."


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