v.1 welcomes an influx of art and design writings with this inaugural v.1 capsule edition dedicated specifically to the genre. This issue represents some of the new and vital writing emerging within the RISD student community. Three writers, namely Angelina Rogers, Maxwell Fertik, and myself, each offer a close-up style analysis of a single work of their choosing.

First time contributor to v.1 Angelina Rogers takes on Salman Toor’s Two Boys and a Dog (2020), a ravishing painting about intimacy by the Pakistani-American artist which is currently part of the group show Any Distance Between Us at the RISD Museum until March 2022. Angelina initially wrote this essay for an H101 assignment, but then it had to be shared. Her handling of intimacy and figuration reveals a delicate and decisive writer, as attuned to psychic balance as she is to the physicality of a painting. Maxwell Fertik, a fellow editor at v.1, reviews Shahzia Sikander’s Epistrophe, a commanding installation of parchment scrolls which reimagines, in a contemporary painterly idiom, ancient artistic traditions from South Asia. The work is a fitting centerpiece—figuratively and physically—in Extraordinary Realities, Sikander’s career survey exhibition currently on at RISD Museum until January 2022. Max’s examination of Sikander’s formal rigors and interpretation of previously marginalized trans-cultural developments over the centuries, brilliantly advocates for a richer, inclusive art history.

Lastly, I have written a style analysis of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s Any Number of Preoccupations, a 2010 oil painting which bears all the hallmarks of grand portraiture and its abiding associations with visibility and representation. The work is included in Fly in League of the Night, Yiadom-Boakye’s first major retrospective, which opened at the Tate Britain in 2021 before travelling to other European museums. Specificity does illuminate the universal, and so having spent all of Fall 2021 semester working on my masters thesis titled “Disinheritance as Critique: The Paintings of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye,” a close-up look at a single work by the British-Ghanain painter made for a happy contrast and a new opportunity to meditate on the minutiae.

As is the case with both Max and Angelina’s stories, we actively seek contributions for future editions of v.1. Max will succeed me as the Art & Design Editor, and I encourage any readers with an interest in writing critically about art and design to respond to callouts for submission, or with questions about the editorial and publishing process.

We hope this issue’s essays on single works will inspire further submissions like it, including more of those H101 papers that all RISD undergraduates wrote last Fall—please send them our way at Thank you.

—Sabo Kpade

Since its first issue in 2015, v.1 has published about a dozen student writings on art and design. They range from meditations on individual works to reflections on exhibitions to contemporary cultural criticism. See, for example, Maria Eugenia Moya’s series of surreal memories of chewing on inedible objects as an introduction to her sculpture, Bite. See the collective contemplation of Nafis White and García Sinclair’s Strand, an ephemeral centering of African American experience amid the European portraiture of the RISD Museum’s Grand Gallery. See Jeremy Wolin’s astute imaginings for the empty plinth as Confederate monuments came down.

It’s no surprise such provocative, knowing, and prescient writings on art and design have come from RISD students, artists and designers themselves. The artist Raqs Media Collective once wrote: “If the work is a boat, the artist-interlocutor is a sailor … translating, annotating, mediating, criticizing, interpreting … tak[ing] responsibility for the safety and integrity of the work during this voyage, making sure that it lands on some more or less secure promontory of meaning before embarking on other journeys.” (“How to Be an Artist by Night,” 2009) And it’s true, artists and designers bring to their articulations on art and design both the insights and the ethics of vested insiders, not to mention an experimental streak that mirrors the infinite complexity of the work itself.

What is perhaps surprising is how little we’ve seen the publication of such writings in a place where art and design subjects/objects/makers/sailors abound. In the past year, the promise of a breakthrough came with the arrival of Sabo Kpade, v.1’s inaugural art and design writing editor. Sabo is about to graduate from the Global Arts and Culture MA program and has been writing about art for British publications for years. When he signed on for the v.1 post, he was in Nigeria, waiting out Covid, heading up a gallery. Even from afar, never having visited RISD, he saw the potential for student art and design writing at RISD. He joined the team, shared resources, and inspired new writers. Upon landing in Providence, finally, in Fall 2021, Sabo deepened his work, cultivating this lovely volume and mentoring a successor, Maxwell Fertik. In a time of so many constraints on movement and exchange, Sabo offered v.1’s community inspiration and open horizons. In return we offer him enormous gratitude and well wishes as he embarks on other journeys himself.

—Jen Liese