Moving art pieces star in Student Art Exhibit

Photo Courtesy Amelia Walchli
A&E-2013-U-Student-Art-DSC_5747 Photo Courtesy Amelia Walchli

HIDDEN GEM The Gittins Gallery will showcase student works in various mediums that challenge viewers’ perceptions

The 2013 Annual Student Art Exhibition will showcase art including — but not limited to — metal foosball tables, traditional oil paintings and even a chocolate statue.
This year’s exhibit was juried by John Sproul, who is a professional artist, founder of Nox Contemporary in Salt Lake City and U alum.
The Student Art Exhibit allows U students to see and appreciate everything being done in the College of Fine Arts. Located between the new business building and the Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, it is easy to forget the U has a thriving and diverse art program full of students creating exceptional work.
Nowhere is this more apparent than wandering around the Gittins Gallery, located on the first floor of the Art and Architecture building. On display are works that not only challenge the viewer but are marvelous to behold. One such work is the light box created by Becky Hansen, a senior in photography, titled “Projection 1.” This work arranges two transparencies of a man and woman, one upon the other, in a phantasmagoric glow, held together by a rugged stained wood frame.
The incandescent 40×30-inch surface of the box blends these two bodies into a single form where masculine and feminine blend together and a singular face emerges from the chaos. Not only is this work transfixing in its sensual yellow gleam, but it also brings up issues of identity and gender. How are we to understand the differences between men and women, and where do we draw the lines? These types of questions are often ambiguous and ongoing, much like the transformation of man to woman and vice versa in this illuminating tableau.
However, Hansen’s piece is not the only thing worth seeing at the student exhibition. There are pieces that question the political system in the form of pristine prints, and a work that interrogates society’s use of prescription drugs to cure mental and eating disorders in the form of pressed margarine and sugar.
Although all types of media are incorporated into the show, this year’s exhibit seems to have a bias toward photography and prints. However, this is not a deterrent to the show — rather it recognizes a competence in these programs, which are typically underrepresented at the U.
The show is arranged in a Paris salon fashion with works cramped for a typical exhibition yet comfortably spaced compared to the mass of work on display last year. This approach allows for the most student art to be seen while also giving just enough room for each piece to breathe.
This arrangement of the works creates connection among the pieces, while still allowing artwork piece to stand on its own. This attention to detail includes the obvious grouping of political works together to the smaller touches such as repeated organic forms in a sculpture mirrored in a print placed across from it.
Whether a student likes conceptual art, art history, political art, beautiful images, sculpture, photography or paintings, there is something at the student show that will delight their senses, leave ing them inspired or possibly even agitated. For a break from finals’ stress, stroll over to the Gittins Gallery. Relax, unwind and be mesmerized by some fantastic pieces of contemporary art deserving of any gallery space.
The exhibit will run until May 3.