First student art exhibit of the year opens in Broyles

The first student art exhibit of the year is up and running, and it’s livelier than ever before. Art hangs on the walls and sculptures sit on stands in Kellett, showcasing student creativity.

“This show is anything and everything from all the art classes,” said visual arts department chair Benjamin Steele. “There’s work from every art student in the Digital Imaging track, which includes photography and graphic design, the 3D Design track, which is sculpture and ceramics, and Drawing and Painting.”

This art show is different from any other so far here at Westminster due to a variety of new projects within the art classes.

“What I think is unique about this show is that we have Mr. Thompson with us, who is here temporarily for Mrs. Wentzel,” said art teacher Pamela Martinez.

Thompson had his class contribute green ware.

“They’re very fragile, but fill up the space in a way that is different from anything I’ve seen in the three years I have been here,” said Thompson.

His group projects are also displayed, like the big tree sitting directly in front of the Kellett doors, or the large hand. Just like Thompson produced group projects, Martinez also wanted to move in an innovative direction.

“I did a new project this year with my Drawing and Painting II students: the monolithic looking heads,” said Martinez.

After her students studied anatomy and learned the different parts of the face, they then sat across from a partner, drew them, and proceeded to turn their drawings into a cubist style painting.

“They’re very large and took us many weeks to do, but it was interesting and fun for us to try something new,” said Martinez.

Meanwhile, the advanced 3D design class, which includes the AP Studio Art students, did a project based off of the last show, which featured visiting artist Gregor Turk. Turk’s work deals with ideas of places, shown through wrapping objects in different materials. Student work was heavily inspired by Turk’s themes.

“You’ll see Brendon Dolan’s fishing inspired piece, which was made by wrapping a branch, which is shaped in the bend of the river that his family used to visit when he was younger, in fishing line,” said Steele. “He attached fishing bait and lures on it to enhance it, and used a reel as a pedestal, which was a smart way of displacing an idea of a place.”

The art exhibits give students a chance to show off their accomplishments in the art department.

“Anytime you have student work displayed in a public place it’s nice because it gives the community a chance to see what is happening in the studio environments, which is typically a more private environment,” said Steele.

Many students do not see the exhibit as simply a requirement, but an oppurunity to learn about their peers’ artistic identities better.

“I think the art exhibit is cool to walk through and to showcase all of the student’s art, especially since the art department isn’t always displayed very well down in the basement of Broyles,” said sophomore Max Graves, who contributed to the art exhibit.

For Grave’s piece in the exhibit, the project required the Honors Advanced Studio students to take a picture of a previous project, blow it up to 18×24, and use that as their background for their new piece.

“In the piece I enlarged, I had turned hoses into snakes, and so I decided to carry that theme throughout this project as well. The piece is shades of yellow, black, and white, and I used Photoshop to match the colors of the snakes to the background so they would be camouflaged,” said Graves.

While the Drawing and Painting students worked on sizable canvases, the Digital Image track worked on their computers.

“I have a piece in the exhibit called Step Out of the Screen,” said senior Emily Henegar.

For the project, the students had to use only Google Earth screenshots and use Photoshop tools to make a composition out of it.

“My piece looks like a laptop, and inside the laptop is a distorted photo of mountains with the phrase ‘explore the world,’” said Henegar. “I worked off of the idea of seeing the world in person and not just through our technology.”

Students and teachers in the art department think that non-art students on campus benefit from the art exhibit as well.

“I think that it’s nice for people to see what creativity looks like in the form of making things with your hands, because it’s becoming a lost art. We do so much online, and so it’s almost rare, kind of like seeing an endangered species of some sort,” said Martinez.

The art exhibits give the community a chance to take a deeper look into the artists’ worlds.

“I love art exhibits because I like to see how other people think. You get to see what people are interested in because most artists make art about the things they enjoy and love,” said Steele. “In the arts here at Westminster, we’re trying to give students skills, and so I think it’s always interesting to see how they incorporate both of those aspects together: passion and technique. Everyone should see at least one art exhibit in the year to support their peers and enjoy the artwork.”

Not only does it benefit the Upper School community, but it also inspires the Middle Schoolers as well as potential future artists.

“It’s great advertisement for the courses,” said Steele.

The Art Department especially encourages eighth graders to visit the show. Listed next to each piece is the name of the courses so that they can see if they’d want to go into Drawing and Painting, or to see what the Sculpture class may be like.

Not only should eighth graders visit the show, but so should every high schooler.

“I think it’s cool to see what artistic people are capable of doing, and everyone should go to the exhibit just to see what you could possibly be making if you were in one of these classes, and to see the potential of all the different classes hold,” says Henegar.

Steele encourages everyone to visit the art exhibits before the semester ends.

“There is amazing work there,” said Steele.  “No one would want to miss [this] wonderful show.”