Apparent Weight is the annual exhibition of thesis work by Master of Fine Arts candidates in the Studio Art program.
“Apparent weight” is a term from physics that indicates an objects relative, perceived weight within a closed system. In an accelerating, ascending elevator, an individual senses a greater downward force than usual; in that moment, that person’s apparent weight has increased. Conversely, underwater, or in free fall, that same person perceives weightlessness. An object’s apparent weight is both quantifiable but shifting, concrete but infinitely variable. Within an act of production, weight is always perceived, and thus apparent; the work must be done, and yet the value of one’s effort can never fully be known. In physics, the calculation of weight is definitive; more challenging to compute is the idea of relative, perceived weight within more strictly subjective systems. A vantage point outside of the system is required to take an accurate measurement of apparent weight. This is because apparent weight is relative to its context; in physics, this includes location, gravity, atmosphere, trajectory and speed, while in relationship to artistic production, it would encompass factors like cultural values, art historical frameworks and personal histories. The artists in this exhibition ask the viewer to consider the work’s apparent weight—that is, a weight that is both obviously present and not yet proven.