By Cuilin Chen
The BC Art Club curates a Student Gallery Show every spring semester. About 15 pieces of artwork by BC students hung in Carney Hall , but the first floor hallway could barely contain the creative energy that streamed from the walls.
The exhibitions don’t usually follow a theme: a variety of media and subjects, as well as a rich variation of color, are found in these paintings. But for the purpose of curation, sometimes repeated motifs are grouped together, an unexpected confluence of inspiration revealing itself within these annual shows. Moving from one piece to another is a jump for the eyes, but the reward for processing such a sensory leap is the excitement of grasping each artist’s unique style.
Kieu Bach, Art Club president, tells me: “We treat the students’ work with as much integrity and professionalism as we can, by making tags and paying attention to lighting and specific instructions if we’re given them.” And I am surely convinced as I see how much attention they pay to details and how much effort they put into creating a professional setting, demonstrating the utmost respect for the artwork. The work of Tashrika Sharma is intentionally placed at a low position on the wall to encourage viewers to explore the space, says an art history student Vincent. As we walk down the hallway, Vincent offers thought-provoking insights on the paintings. In one work, intersecting curves are drawn over nine pieces of wood. The smooth, swirling movement of the charcoal disturbed by the harsh angles of the wooden structure conveys a sense of both divergence and unity–a paradox of continuity and interruption, raising questions about space that echo with the art work’s title, “Relapse”.
Another interesting painting is Samuel Kuchwara’s “Window Frost”: a rather abstract depiction of a forest, not so much oriented on forms, but enriched by, and layered with, sophisticated colors and various brushstrokes. My impression of this piece changes as I alternate between observing from a distance and looking closely. As I move towards the painting, it seems to grow thicker and denser. A part of its spontaneity translates into vigor, rendering a beautiful and dynamic scene.
I stare at Alexandra Deplas’ work for the longest time, intrigued that I feel compelled to solve the mystery in the double portrait of “Shower Hour”. The artwork is created with a mixed use of opaque and transparent watercolor. A recognizably female form sits beside a distorted face, the identity of the subject obscured. The disproportional somber features of the mystery subject seems to be melting as water runs down, her lack of expression further dimmed by shower mist, exuding a feeling of torment and sadness. In contrast, there is much more softness and warmth to the other portrait, which makes it less confronting for the eyes, but all the same ambiguous.
I am also fascinated by a set of watercolor paintings, delicate and elegant for their fine lines and vivid colors, which enhance the naturalistic style. “The paintings depict places or feelings that are huge parts of my life,” says Léa Oriol, the artist. “For example, the coastal landscape depicts an island where I spent a huge part of my life, where I could escape from the harsh reality of my childhood. The portrait of the girl, initially a doodle made on the plane to Boston, represents the pangs of loneliness I sometimes feel when thinking about people that are dear to me but are not around anymore.” These pieces are not big in scale, but placed together, they deliver a coherent and personal story of Lea’s, which touches me deeply.
I have had a long day, yet by discovering the talent and creativity of these students, and, as if I am invited to step into their inner world through their art, by seeing the world from their perspectives, although just for a brief moment, my own world is refreshed and enlightened. I agree with Léa for sure: “Art is peace, art is love, art is life. I embrace it in every form”.
BC artists, exhibit your work for thousands of festival guests! Submit to the annual student exhibit in the Stokes Tent Gallery at ArtsFest 2015. Be a part of the biggest student art showcase of the year, represent student artists at the gallery opening, and have your chance at a cash prize in the critics’ choice awards. Details on the show and how to submit are here.