New student exhibition spaces allow artists to spread their wings

Kozak’s ‘Reflected Enclosure’ (Photo courtesy of Sarah Cunningham)

The College has showcased student art before — plenty of times. But never like this.

“4×4: The Debut Student Art Exhibition Series,” which runs March 17-April 21, gave each participating student free reign over one-fourth of the new student exhibition spaces — his or her own little corner of the Art and Interactive Multimedia (IMM) Building, to do with what he or she pleased. Exhibits were selected and will be assessed by an “outside professional juror,” according to the exhibition series’ brochure, and student artists will receive recognition and accolades at an April 21 reception and awards ceremony.

The exhibition series is the first of its kind at the College. Sixteen exhibitions will be displayed over a period of four weeks, four per week, thus the series’ title, “4×4.”

Works will materialize on the bare walls as the result of either construction or curation — students will work individually or collaborate. In the spirit of possibility embodied by the new workspaces, few restrictions encumber the student artists. Students were urged to fill the empty spaces as they liked.

This can be an imposing task to face.

“The challenge, and the wonderful thing about the challenge, that the Student Exhibition Spaces … present is that they are not white cubes,” wrote Kate Kraczon, assistant curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and juror for the “4×4” series, in the exhibition brochure. “They are an opportunity to work within unorthodox parameters as a young artist, to experience early in your career the frustrations and rewards that these spaces offer.”

An annual showcase of student work has been a keystone of the art program at the College for many years, but, as College Art Gallery director Sarah Cunningham noted, this is a “reincarnation” of the traditional exhibition.

“New this year, with the new building, are separate student-proposed and executed exhibitions in the Student Exhibition Spaces,” Cunningham explained in an e-mail, “rather than one big exhibit featuring all of the accepted students’ work.”

This week’s featured artists, whose works will be displayed until March 23, are Patrick Hughes, senior art education major, Keith Kozak, junior art education major, Katie

A painting from Hughes’ ‘Vis-à-vis.’ (Tim Lee/Photo Editor)

Rossiter, junior fine arts major, and Lindsey Hardifer, sophomore graphic design major. Hughes’ “Vis-à-vis” offers original abstract paintings, alternately colorful and black and white, full and sparse. He shares an exhibition room with Kozak, whose “Examination: A Look into the Art of the Form” explores, as its title suggests, several traditional forms of artistic expression: his exhibit includes photography, a pen-and-ink drawing, and two sculptures of sorts, “American Dorodango” — a small metal ball placed squarely in the middle of a patch of dirt atop a pedestal — and “Reflected Enclosure,” an intricate 3-D design made of Plexiglas.

Rossiter and Hardifer inhabit the other gallery with their two exhibits, “Untitled (String Room)” and “Things Remembered.” The former is an installation of strings zigzagging the room in a tumult, occupying the entire expanse of Room 119A. The latter is a series of black and white images that conjures a sense of nostalgia with its running theme of lace winding dreamily through the numerous, untitled works.

Sponsored by the Art Department, the Art Students Association (ASA) and the College Art Gallery, the second installation of the series will be put into effect March 26.