Salon de Refusés brings potpourri of art to student center

Over a dozen student artists of various majors are showing their work above the Rathskeller. (Tim Lee).

The College recently completed construction on the new home for the arts on campus. It is replete with installation spaces and possesses ample room for students to show their work in an attractive environment. But based on the Art Student Association (ASA)’s newest student gallery, one might not know that.

The ASA has compiled an exhibit they call “Salon des Refusés” — but they haven’t put the paintings and photographs submitted by about 15 different students in the new Art and Interactive Multimedia (IMM) Building. The “gallery” is located on the second floor of the Brower Student Center, where the works adorn two brick walls above the Rathskeller.

Orchestrated with little fanfare, the works hang, mostly unframed, on plain white walls in an area students pass every day on their way to club offices. It bears no name, and the artists’ taglines are scribbled ink on white stickers.

Covert, but striking, the works have impressed students that frequent the area — though not many of those passersby could tell you why it’s there.

“I like the splash of color it adds to this section of the Stud,” Joe Montes, freshman biology major, said, “but I’m not sure why it’s here.”

Montes’s favorite piece is “Fruit-full” by Lindsey Hardifer, sophomore graphic design major. Hardifer created her series of prints by dipping halved fruits, including strawberries and apples, into paint and pressing them onto paper.

Hardifer’s prints hang alongside paintings, lithographs, charcoal drawings and photographs, both black-and-white and color. The works draw from as many different mediums as there are types of students exhibiting — ASA’s makeshift gallery did not pull only from within the art major.

“The criteria was totally open,” Katie Petrillo, co-president of ASA and junior art education major, said.

The gallery includes works by biology and sociology majors, in addition to fine arts and graphic design majors.

Except for each piece’s unadorned quality, the artwork seen together does not seem to ascribe to any certain theme.

“Salon de Refusés” was inspired by an event of the same name, organized by the French artist Édouard Manet in 1863. The name literally translates into “Exhibition of Rejects.” Artwork rejected by the famous Paris Salon, a prominent French art gallery of the 1800s, constituted the original Salon de Refusés.

When asked from where he thought the exhibit drew its name, Montes seemed confused.

“Well, I’m not sure,” Montes said. “A lot of these works are really beautiful. I can’t imagine what they would even be rejected from.”

“Salon de Refusés” can be seen on the second floor of the Student Center, above the Rathskeller, until April 28.