Three current CBU students (including myself) and two alumni had the opportunity to showcase our artwork at Gallery 56 alongside 7 other local artists for the “New Talent: 2013” exhibition during the month of January. The work of each artist varies widely from emotive figurative work to abstract explorations of texture. This eclectic blending of styles into one show drew an equally eclectic crowd, providing the artists a chance to extend the audience of their work.
Antoine Lever and Simon Hua are both 2012 Graphic Design graduates. Both show a direct interest in capturing nature through photography. Simon’s photography journeys the transitions of seasons, while Antoine’s is more focused on the relationship between people and nature. Myself, Mary-Michael Ryan, and Desiree Mitchell are senior CBU Art Majors and while we each dealt with figurative work, our styles differ greatly from one another. Mary-Michael’s piece abstract in its form with an electrifyingly rigid and intense color scheme of reds and grays. Desiree’s three paintings are all self-portraits done in oil. Her piece “Some of the Parts make One Hole” takes on a very ethereal and vulnerable feeling while “Can’t Fill a Thing” feels more weighted and confrontational. My paintings are self-portraits as well, in watercolor, and also implement an unnatural use of color to intensify the emotion of the portrait.
Some of my other favorites at the show are Claudia Santillan, Katie Faye and Anna Roach. Claudia’s larger than life portraits use vivid colors and beautiful gold and silver leafing while examining her Latin heritage. Katie Faye’s whimsical watercolor sequences of animals and abstractions allow the viewer to harness the imagination and form totally unique stories about each piece. Anna Roach’s portraits are all oil and graphite childhood portraits of politicians on wood. Anna’s work explores the notion of childhood innocence and its eventual end.
For many of us this was our first time having our work shown in a professional gallery space. Our professors have always told us artwork takes on a different feeling, even a different meaning once it is placed in a gallery. I never fully understood this idea of how my work could somehow be elevated just by putting it in a different sort of space. After all, the meaning and feeling should come from the work not what is going on around it.
Being in this show made me realize how seeing art in a space that is built to present art is totally different from seeing art hanging in my grandmother’s living room. A gallery space enhances the images by being a non-distracting environment with good lighting. Also, having so many different people come look at your work gives it a multitude of new meanings. Talking to people I met the night of the opening enlightened me as to how people interpret my work and has informed my decisions when I am working now. For those of us preparing for our senior exhibition, we feel more aware and confident about the work we are making.