Competition and Exhibition

Second Annual Student Art Competition and Exhibition

By Cam Alsbrook and Alison Malawey

On April 8, the Department of Art, Music, and Theatre Arts hosted an opening night for their Second Annual Student Art Competition and Exhibition event, with Elizabeth Yarosz-Ash serving as Juror.

The exhibition, set to show until May 7, shows the works of various students of the department and the culmination of effort in varietal drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture media.

The artworks featured in the exhibition demonstrate the use of color strategies to accentuate and/or deepen the level of content in a work.

Duncan Fine Arts sophomore Alyssa Cox, who won first place in the two-dimensional art category for the event for her piece, “A Stroll Through Paradise,” said that she chose to enter the pastel into the competition due to it being the largest drawing she created.

“It allowed me to work in a lot of details and expressive uses of line and color that are difficult to convey on a smaller surface,” Cox said. “I liked the richness of the colors I used and felt that the size of the piece allowed them to catch people’s eye. This was also probably one of the most unique pieces I’ve ever done.

“It was among the first drawings I had done with a live model, and I was challenged with capturing some of the likenesses it needed to have to portray her. In the end, all of the elements I chose to integrate into the piece worked together really well.”

Cox also said she was happy she entered the piece, despite the work being new territory for her during the time of making “A Stroll Through Paradise.”

Art Freshman Kanney Do, who won first place in the two-dimensional art category for their charcoal work titled “David,” said their favorite part of making the piece – which was an assignment for their class – was the learning experience.

“Everything I did in that piece was brand new to me,” Do said, “and because of that experience, I was able to make two more charcoal pieces that are much better in my opinion.”

Do said they feel relieved and satisfied after completing work, as they tend not to finish drawings they start.

“It felt good to be done with one piece, and it made me excited to start another,” Do said, “mostly because it could only get better from there.”

Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts Professor Edna McMillan said that the emotional experience of creating art can vary from artist to artist.

“Many artists enjoy the process of making art through the manipulation of various art media,” McMillan said. “Those who work expressively with drawing media or paint media, may enjoy the mark-making and broken brushstrokes that can be applied with great energy and emotion in the act of drawing or painting. This mark making can be very cathartic and healing to some artists.

“Other artists enjoy the methodical process involved in the manipulation of graphite, Conté, pastel, or charcoal through the use of modeling and chiaroscuro to create three dimensional illusions on a two-dimensional surface. Others may find great emotional pleasure in the manipulation of soft, malleable materials such as clay or wax, to create three-dimensional art forms through sculptural processes such as modeling, carving, casting or assemblage.”

Department of Art, Music and Theatre Arts Professor Monika Linehan said artists should remember that the creation of art is a difficult process. Linehan also said that artworks can be personal confessions of the artists’ concerns and feelings made public to viewers.

“An artist has to develop a thick skin and realize that not everyone will understand, appreciate or even like their artworks,” Linehan said. “The most important thing for an artist is to remain true to their vision. Don’t compromise your ideas and creativity for a specific audience or for a sale. There will be times when ideas flow freely and every artwork the artist creates is successful.

“However, there will be other times when the artist is faced with a creative block or when they need to perfect a new style or technique. My advice is to never give up, work through the difficult times, produce some really bad artwork, but don’t stop creating. Learn from the mistakes. Eventually, your creativity will flow anew – perhaps leading you in an entirely unexpected and exciting direction. Your skills will also be more masterful from having worked through the experimental pieces.”

Linehan also said that, when observing works of art, viewers need to remain open-minded, and avoid dismissing works – evaluate them.

“When viewing an artwork, the viewer should experience it on multiple levels,” Linehan said. “First, explore the subject matter and the emotions it conjures up – both good and bad. Can the viewer relate to the subject? Does it bring back memories? The viewer should contemplate the style in which the work was created.”

Linehan said that reading the title of works, reading the artist statement and discussing works with the artist can give insight into the artist’ intended concept.

Adjunct Professor Glen Henry said that his students’ work and passion for art makes him proud.

“The impact of student artworks on me personally is immeasurable,” Henry said. “Their creativity is wonderful. As their creativity coach, I am humbled by their passion.”

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