2021 Juried Student Art Exhibition: A Showcase of Emotion and Stillness


2021 Student Art Exhibition Banner. (Courtesy University of Utah Department of Art and Art History)

By Whit Fuller, Arts Writer


The University of Utah’s 2021 Juried Student Art Exhibition opened April 6 in the Department of Art and Art History’s Gittins Gallery. The exhibition features the work of students from the department across a variety of mediums and concepts, including painting, photography and sculpture.

Art in Review

When looking at the pieces displayed in the gallery, it’s evident that one of the first things the viewer is obliged to take notice of are the unusual materials featured in some of the pieces.

Valeria Johansen and Eden Merkley’s “Her Drawer, Her Drawer” is an acrylic cabinet containing various found objects — papers, a pill bottle and tangled cords — that seem to capture the true chaos of life as a college student in a way that is both moving and stagnant.

“My Vaginas” created by Kelly Goff is a statement and thought-provoking piece composed of used vases, fabric, wood and pajamas depicting a life experience from a biologically female perspective. This piece speaks volumes about womanhood, child-bearing and the complicated relationship between the two.

I find myself drawn to the moving and dynamic paint colors of certain pieces, and the still vignettes proposed within others — pieces like Jeni Jolley’s “Bathtub Baptism” depicting several women standing in a shower done in acrylic paint, and Brandon Woodward’s “Years hide ‘neath seconds” — an eye with bruising done in metal print. 

Accolades for Artists

There is no denying the diverse range of influences, mediums, and expressions that are on display at this year’s gallery. It shows dedication and perseverance on the part of the artists, and the lasting impact of the art that they create. 

2021 Juror and Curator of Park City’s Kimball Art Center Nancy Stoaks offered this statement about the gallery exhibition:

“This year’s selected works represent a diverse range of media, concepts, and artistic concerns. Across painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and more, the artists have explored the potential of their chosen medium to create compelling works of art. Some pieces reflect an earnest study of long-established technique while others powerfully embrace untraditional materials to capture the contemporary moment, revealing so much of what we’ve individually and collectively experienced this past year.”

William Oviatt’s “High Tides” won the award for Juror Selection – Best in Show. The piece — done in acrylic — shows two nude women posing as though in the middle of movement and surrounded by a background of colorful, blurry strokes on the canvas. 

Kevin Cody’s “Mirror” won the award for Faculty Selection – Best in Show. The photograph depicts mountains reflected perfectly in a calm body of water that is entirely silent. A colorless overlay creates a moving and dynamic piece.

The 2021 Juror Student Art Exhibition runs until April 20 in the Department of Art and Art History’s Gittins Gallery. Students are encouraged to visit the gallery and admire the artwork of their peers. Additional information regarding Gallery hours, guidelines, and the exhibition can be found here.


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