Thesis class presents exhibition show “Re:Constructed—Dissecting the Foundations”

Written By Tia Bailey, Co-Features/A&E Editor

The 2021 graduating photography class has been working hard to complete their thesis project—and it will be on display at their exhibition show starting this week. 


Noah Fodor, Sydney Jantzen, Long Phan and Jacob Sizemore will present their group show, titled “Re:Constructed—Dissecting the Foundations.” According to the press release for the exhibition, written by Fodor, “Re:Constructed”  “analyzes and dismantles themes such as notions of history, identity, representation, and the body and features new work” from the students. The exhibition is located at Artists Image Resource in Pittsburgh. 


“We all have worked extremely hard this year, trying to pull it all together despite COVID throwing a couple wrenches in there,” Jantzen said. “My part of the show is actually about me. It’s a thesis of self, of sorts. I come from a fairly conservative part of the state, so my younger self struggled a lot with self-love. It’s all about my journey of self-love and self-acceptance in my gender and sexuality.”


COVID-19 has affected the way the show is presented; while there is usually an opening reception in-person, this year it is being held on Zoom. Additionally, in order to come to the gallery in person, there is a limit on how many people can be inside at one time. 


The pandemic has also changed plans for some of the artists. 


“My original plan was to collab and have my photographs be done at a location that related or represent Vietnamese culture such as nail salons or Vietnamese restaurants in Pittsburgh,” Phan said. “But then the work took a different turn that myself thought would be better to represent and show the Vietnamese identity as a self-portrait; I think that it would be much more impactful and meaningful.”


The students took on their thesis project with a hands-on approach, and worked together to make sure the space was to their liking. 


“The four of us having a lot of control in putting together the gallery space is also a lot of fun because it feels very much like a group show and collaboration where we’re all figuring out how the space should look together, while also having our own little sections to play around with,” Sizemore said. 


According to Fodor, “The exhibition analyzes and subverts narratives surrounding notions of history, nationality, the body and identity.” When summarizing the thesis show as a whole, he said, “I [Noah Fodor] address the long standing violent past of both national and local histories that are intertwined through the use of embodiment and metaphor. Sydney Jantzen uses self-portraiture to open up their body and reckon with their past in an attempt to be seen. Long Phan embraces Vietnamese culture through satirical imagery that exists to connect generations of Vietnamese identities with appreciation. Jacob Sizemore represents identity through computer generated images to reflect how the internet can be a safe place for LGBTQ+ people to safely present themselves.”


The show’s opening reception will take place via Zoom on April 16 at 6 p.m.