Holman Hall’s Art Gallery was the host of a very special event this past Wednesday: the 2008 Art Student Exhibition. The annual exhibition is the only time underclassmen can show off their artistic talent (the BFA Senior Art Show, the only other show that features students, is reserved for seniors). Of the 150 works submitted, 24 pieces were chosen.
Since the show was a “juried” art show, an outside juror chose which pieces would be featured in the show. This year’s juror was Amy Adams, executive director of Vox Populi, a member-run artist collective founded in Philadelphia in 1988, and curator of exhibitions at the Esther M. Klein Art Gallery at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia.
Adams’ main goal, as she wrote in her juror’s statement, was to find a meeting of both rebellious and traditional efforts.
The four awards up for grabs were the Faculty Merit Awards, the Dean’s Purchase Award, the Provost’s Purchase Award and the President’s Purchase Award. The Faculty Merit Awards represent the art department faculty’s favorite pieces. As for the latter three, the dean, provost and president all picked the pieces they would like to purchase and those pieces those were then added to the permanent collection of student artwork found all around campus.
There were five recipients of the Faculty Merit Award. Sara Bennett, senior digital arts major, picked up an award for “Red and Green,” a collection of digital images of a girl in various red and green clothing. Next was “System(01)” by Andrew Lubas, sophomore digital arts major, a digital photography slideshow of himself in various outfits that Adams described as “evok(ing) traditions of time-lapsed photography, aging, change and the frantic pace of modern day life.”
The final three awards were given to Arthur Romanchuk, junior biology major, for “Limbo Hotel,” a compilation of pictures from different areas of different hotel rooms; David Sankey, senior graphic design major, for “Self Portrait – The Artist as Tree, a 21st Century Allegory on the Sentiments of Pollock,” a self portrait with human limbs replaced by tree limbs and a dove in one hand and an electrical cord and plug in the other; and “Green,” an acrylic portrait of rolling green hills and a tiny brown house perched at the top, by Dana Vachon, senior fine arts major.
“I’m really honored to receive this award, what with working with such high-caliber peers – a great honor,” Vachon, who also helped coordinate the event, said.
Devon DeMarco, senior fine arts major, won the Dean’s Purchase Award for “Church Series, 1 & 3,” two digital photographs of church signs that are almost directly next to liquor store and adult video store signs.
“It’s the juxtaposition of the two worlds that makes this piece work,” Sarah Cunningham, art gallery coordinator, said about the pieces. “It wasn’t photoshopped. This is what she found.”
Michelle Nugent, junior fine arts major, won the President’s Purchase Award for her enormous collection of paintings “Can’t See the Forest for the Trees,” which consisted of three large spray-painted trees.
“The scale and use of color are incredibly important here,” Cunningham said. “They cause the person to become engaged with the landscape.”
Ryan Weber, junior art education major, won the Provost’s Purchase Award with “Two Brothers,” a combination of his ink and his brother, Christopher’s, words.
“The shape of the book supports the content of the book,” Cunningham said. “It’s very linear – from the beginning to the end.”
“We really look forward to having more student artwork available all of the time,” Cunningham said. “We’re just so proud of our students.”