A visit to the Green Gallery

Over the summer, 26 top art undergraduates hailing from various universities across the United States were given the chance to spend six weeks swimming in art in Norfolk. Another group of summer session students hit Auvillar with the legendary Robert Reed BFA ’60 ART ’62 for one month of studio painting and drawing. Reed is rumored to require his students to produce 10 paintings per night. Not surprisingly, 14 artists generated over 5000 works over the course of the program. The best of these vibrant works made it onto the walls of Green Gallery Wednesday night. This Wednesday marked the opening of “x3: Art Majors, Auvillar, and Norfolk,” this fall’s rendition of the undergraduate art exhibition at the School of Art’s Green Gallery located at 1156 Chapel St. The works exhibited were produced both by students who took one of the overseas summer courses and by undergraduate art majors outside of the two courses.

“[During the studio painting and drawing course in Auvillar], we explored one image or theme throughout the experience and so learnt what it meant to pursue one idea over an extended period of time,” Rebecca Aston ’14, a student in the course, said. She explained how the contrast of old versus new defined her own work.

“My work began with the observation of an old sailors’ chapel. I focused on one of the arches and slowly my work evolved through the constant exploration of this image … I would place things within the archway in an abandoned jumble, playing with the idea that these were vestiges of the modern self within the ruins of an historical building from another era.”

The pieces produced during Reed’s class range from charcoals in blacks and greys to vibrant oil paintings in reds and yellows. The painted works gave the impression of being abstract and hard to decipher — perhaps at the intention of the artists. Sizes varied from small box-like paintings placed in sequence, much like Andy Warhol’s repetition of Monroe, to life-size. Whereas Reed’s students produced paintings and sketches, other students exhibited three-dimensional pieces.

Richard Miron ’13 showcased a TV screen with a row of pencils lying in front of it as his central piece, drawing a connection between art and the tech-savvy mechanisms of our daily lives. The use of such an unusual medium conveys that art can be found outside its ‘natural’ element. It is present even where it is hard to find. There were other oddities to be found as well: for example, a piece comprised of chairs attached to walls, complete with not just legs, but with feet too. Instead of four legs, the chair had two, which literally spouted out into shoes (through bandages).

Photography was one among many media represented within the exhibition. Farah Al-Qasimi ’12 displayed photographs taken during an art residency in Ireland over the summer. She captured the region of “Burren“ — meaning empty or barren — in her works. She had three photographs of the landscapes, edited and filled with vivacious color and life.

What initially appeared to be merely an easel and canvas positioned centrally in the middle of the room, propped against a large cabinet turned out in fact to be “live” art. In possibly the most eccentric part of the exhibition, Janna Avner ’12, an English and art double major, soon arrived and got to work on the easel with paintbrush in hand. She was simply painting her space, literally in the middle of the exhibition. This gives the impression of being pulled into the artist’s zone. The aura of the painting is not only what is seen on the canvas but is completed through the work that goes into it. Avner’s purpose was to show art viewers how to paint — how to create a topcoat. She attempted to show that artwork is never really complete — it is always in progress.

Art is about perception. In this exhibition, it translated into both weird and more traditional pieces.

“x3: Art Majors, Auvillar, and Norfolk” runs through Oct. 19.

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