Those looking for an opportunity to see art that represents a wide expanse of techniques, mediums, and subject matter will find it in the 42nd Annual Juried University of Wyoming Student Exhibition.
The exhibition showcases the high quality of student art at the University. In the first glance, I saw ceramics, graphite works, water colors, bronze, stoneware, video installations, and photography. It is good to see such a large variety of work in one space. The exhibition is staged at the UW Art Museum.
Students from any discipline, college, or grade level submit their work. The submissions were juried by Catharine Clark of Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco.
This year, 72 students submitted their artwork. Clark selected 57 pieces from 30 artists to display.
“The artists whose works were selected for this exhibit are empathetic and courageous,” Clark said in her juror’s statement. “Making work and sharing it with the public is a process that requires vulnerability and bravery.”
Hannah Sease’s watercolor and ink images illustrate three traditional fairy tales: “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” “The Snow Maiden,” and “The Fox Sister.” The stories accompany the paintings. Each delicate illustration depicts a scene from the story: a troll with sharp teeth reaching over the bridge towards the goats, the fox chasing after a child, and a couple making a girl out of snow. Sease received the Jacque Buchanan Graphic Arts Award for “The Fox Sister.”
Naomi Peterson and Shay Neville, two students whose work appeared in a December show at UW, “The Dispersion Effect,” were included in the exhibition.
Peterson’s ceramic and stoneware pieces are intricate representations of her work. Containers is three separate receptacles that are alike in color, sage, but differ in details. Decorative patterns as delicate as lace encompass the middle portions of each piece.
Only half of the structure remains in Neville’s Ruined Church of the Holy Redeemer of Ani. It is a ceramic portrayal of a historical structure ruined by the actions of man. From one angle it looks like a complete dome building, from another it is hollow. Jagged edges around the structure shows the scars of ruin.
Both students received awards. Neville’s was presented the Margaret Art Award for Excellence for Black Honey and the Edington Family Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts for Ruined Church of the Holy Redeemer of Ani.
Peterson’s Containers garnered two awards, the Tronox Honors Award and, along with her pieces Greek Artifacts and Individuals, David Reif Sculpture Awards.
In her juror’s statement, Clark declared her belief “in the capacity of art to transform opinions, emotions, experiences, politics and lives, and to assist us in our understanding of and empathy for each other.”
Several student pieces connect with Clark’s views. Charcoal portraits by Shelby Galick, “Lost,” and Ezra Hanson, “Cass,” reveal their skill in capturing the personality of their subjects. Jacob Harkin’s “Self Portrait in Samurai Armor,” graphite on three rice paper panels, received the Lisa Lewis Dubois Student Exhibition Award. The details in this large, dramatic piece extend from the headdress of the armor to the fine lines of the individual’s hands.
A mixed media piece by Jandey Shackelford, Dental Records, received the Juror’s Award, David Reif Sculpture Award, and the Ann Simpson and Family award. Large teeth line the wall in staggering layers and rows. Up on a wooden shelf, white crowns are mounted on top and metallic roots hang underneath. Dates attached with strings dangle from each tooth.
Cathy Moen’s, “Urban Canyon,” Brigid Grund’s “Junkyard Moon,” and Tamara Rodgers’s “Shirley Mountain Forgotten Cabin,” are photographs that depict the influence of humanity’s presence in nature.
Curtis Holcomb’s piece Spectrum received the David Reif Sculpture Award, Student Art League Award, and the UW Art Museum National Advisory Board Award. Ceramic faces on wood backing are organized by their color. From left to right they proceed black to white with shades of gray between. The piece is a wonderful expression of the nuances our culture associates with these colors.
Salon de Refuse will present works not selected for the museum exhibition in the Visual Arts Building. This smaller show complements the museum exhibit, and hearkens back to the mid-1860s when French artists who were not accepted into the Paris Salon began exhibiting their work in defiance of the jurors.
Overall, 38 cash and purchase prizes were given at the awards ceremony Feb. 10. Beyond the awards, participating in a juried show provides a valuable learning experience for students. The public also gains with a glimpse of the emerging artists fostered by the university.
The 42nd Annual Juried University of Wyoming Student Exhibition will be open through March 18th.
Molly Bredehoft lives and writes in Laramie. She is working on her MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Arts through the University of Alaska Anchorage low residency program.