Final installation of 4×4 celebrates student art

4X4

The Art and Interactive Multimedia (IMM) Building saw its last installation of the 4×4 Debut Student Art Exhibition Series last week with four exhibits installed, painted, photographed, sketched, constructed or curated by students.

Exhibits by Andrew Lubas, senior digital arts major, Ewa Pietrzyk, junior art education major, Dalia Elhaj, senior art education major, Amy Lu, senior fine arts major, and Crystal Kan, junior digital art major and YenHui Sophia Liu, senior art education major, graced the East and West galleries from April 15-21. They were the final exhibits of a four-week art series that showcased student work in the Art and IMM Building’s four exhibition spaces.

“(The 4×4 series) is an outgrowth of an annual program we do in the art department every year” Sarah Cunningham, director of the College’s Art Gallery, said. “In the past, we had one big exhibit each year, and this year, in the new space, we had a chance to reconsider the concept and work in a new area. I think seeing the results has really been very rewarding.”

Cunningham commended artists on their hard work as host of an awards ceremony held last Wednesday. The ceremony paid tribute to the achievements of students who participated and doled out purchase awards, awards given out by certain individuals or departments who plan to purchase the art they recognize. She also noted the groundbreaking nature of this year’s student art exhibition.

“We had student curators for the first time in the history of these exhibits,” Cunningham said.

Those walking away with purchase awards were Liu (President’s Award), Meghan Baier, senior fine arts major (Provost’s Award), Matt Pembleton, sophomore art education major (Student Affairs Award), Jim Tramontano, senior art education major (Dean’s Award), and Lubas and Lindsey Hardifer, sophomore graphic design major (Art Department Awards). Receiving commendation were Katie Rossiter, junior fine arts major (Award for Conceptual Art), Pietryzk (Art Department Certificate of Achievement) and Patrick Hughes, senior art education major (Student Choice Award).

The Art Students Association (ASA) coordinated the Student Choice Award, which invited students to vote on the exhibit they found most deserving of recognition.

“This is something that actually gave students a chance to participate directly in the judging process,” said Katie Petrillo, ASA co-president and junior art education major.

President R. Barbara Gitenstein, awestruck by the quality of art exhibited, expressed her trouble choosing just one to purchase.

“It was very difficult, because it was an extraordinary collection of student talent,” Gitenstein said

One-fourth of that talent was displayed last week during the final installation.

Two exhibits occupied the East Gallery, each an exploration of artistic mediums. One, installed by Pietrzyk, dealt with creative interpretation of an open-ended inspiration – “Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit,” a book of “instructions,” according to the subtitle, that provides the reader with short, abstract directives. One reads, “Listen to the sound of the earth turning.” Another reads, “Listen to the sound of the underground water.” Pietryzk, rather than following the directions literally, sketched out her interpretations of them.

“It was for my advanced drawing class. We were asked to work with the book and this was my idea of working with it,” Pietryzk said. “(The directives) are really bizarre. But just by working with the book I got really intimate with them. I feel just by drawing them I was able to relate to them, where before it was just so abstract.”

The book contains over 100 directives. But, Pietryzk said, “I decided to do only 55.”

She chose the pieces she identified with.

“I picked whichever ones I felt a closeness to,” she said. “Whichever ones that, as I read, I could see an image of them in my head. In a way it was very spontaneous.”

Pietryzk’s sketches, which took home a certificate of achievement from the art department, patterned the wall, black-and-white and intricate, across from a pedestal that cradled the source of all that ink, Grapefruit.

Sharing the gallery was Lubas’s “Paint,” an exhibit he curated that explores the different amalgamations of paint and surface. A large sheet spans the left wall, smattered with paint, every inch covered. Directly across is a square of wood with old, encrusted paint stuck to its surface.

The exhibit bursts with color, something students celebrated.

“I like the colors. It’s very modern. Definitely reminds me of the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art),” said Alyssa Verano, senior chemistry major.

Her favorite piece in the gallery was by Elhaj, who helped curate another exhibit last week. The piece swirls with turquoise, plum, yellow and green paint.

“I liked that one. It looks like an ocean, the colors. Kinda looks like a swan, too, from far away,” Verano said.

Two more exhibits occupy the West Gallery, each an exploration of straining against limitations. Kan and Liu’s “Stressed College Students” invited students to submit 8.5×11” pictures of themselves posing in facsimile of famed painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch.

“Invite all your friends to do this!” encouraged Kan in the description for the Facebook event she created to get the word out about the exhibit. “It’s meant to be a fun stress relieving activity while getting more than just art majors involved in the arts.”