Students Display Colorful Artwork in Juried Show at Ralph Arnold Gallery

Elle Jacobsen | The Phoenix In the past, the Fine Arts Senior Exhibition was held at the end of spring semester. This past year it can be found virtually from the DFPA's website.

From colorful displays of everyday objects to a sculpture made from buckets of Lake Michigan pebbles, the Ralph Arnold Gallery’s latest collection of student work is anything but predictable. 

Out of 75 submissions, 15 Loyola student’s art pieces were chosen to be displayed in the 2019 Student Juried Art Show, which officially opened with a reception Feb. 7 after being postponed a week due to the frigid weather.  

The Student Juried Art Show is an annual event for Loyola students. Fine arts students were encouraged to submit their pieces to the competition, which were then selected and curated by two jurors. 

This year’s jurors were Kristin Abhalter and Nathan Smith, co-founders and directors for the Roman Susan Art Foundation, a platform that invites artists to hold exhibitions and other events at their gallery in Roger’s Park.

The jurors were tasked with creating a cohesive show from the variety of submissions. They looked for pieces that were both conceptually strong in the ideas and thought process behind the work and technically strong in the execution of the actual pieces themselves. 

Smith was present at the gallery opening to present awards along with the Loyola Director of Fine Arts Matthew Groves, who was present to speak. Groves pointed out the uniqueness of the show in terms of the breadth of materials and the creativity of the students. 

“Each generation has some authorship over the choice of materials and the approach that they use.” Groves said. “I think we are trying to demonstrate that through our curriculum.”

Groves specifically referred to a piece done by Gigi Green, a neuroscience major, titled “The Over-Saturated Self.” Although Green originally created the piece as a self portrait for her drawing class, she didn’t limit herself to two dimensions. Her piece, made from buckets of rocks from Lake Michigan, is held together by PVC pipe and taut ropes, dominating the corner of the gallery. 

“I wanted to create the illusion of movement,” Green said. “It’s a self portrait because I’ve taken ADD and depression medication for the better part of my life, and I became a neuroscience major to help people with their own problems. It’s kind of about the overflow of that and how much it weighs on you.”

The top three selected received special recognition and a cash prize, followed by two honorable mentions. This year’s honorable mentions are Emily Hammermeister for her Inkjet Print “Untitled” and Sameera Siddiqi for her piece “I Have Affairs with These Colors”. 

This year’s winners are Hana Comer, who received third place for her drypoint piece “Untitled.” Isabelle Ghanayem received second place for her piece “Remnants of the Curious” and Cara Sevec was awarded first prize for her pottery piece “Blurred Vision.”

Siddiqi, a biology major and photography minor, described how she created her piece “I Have Affairs with These Colors” by first hunting through her own closets in search of children’s toys, valuing these long forgotten items for their bright colors and sense of nostalgia. Siddiqi then photographed still images of the objects in her lighting course, placing like colored toys and household items in front of a matching background. These images were also divided among ones of alternating color combinations. 

“My whole life I have never been able to pick a favorite color, and I just think that two together look better than one. I hope that people see the beauty in all the colors, plain and simple.” Siddiqi said.

Siddiqi’s piece is displayed on half of the gallery wall, mirrored by Ghanayem’s piece on the opposite side. 

Ghanayem, a senior drawing and painting major and ceramics and sculpture minor, is the recipient of the second prize. Her life-size humanoid creation, which she referred to as a “goddess form” derived from her “subconscious mind.” 

 She titled her piece “Remnants of the Curious” because she wanted observers to come up with their own interpretation regarding the hidden language displayed by the various glass-like blue and green resin objects that surround the figure.  

“I don’t really like to tell people what to think so I’m not going to tell anyone what it means, but each one has a specific meaning to me,” Ghanayem said. “I have this language of symbols that I carry with me, and that’s what informed this piece.”

The figure also displays reclaimed objects such as keys and door knobs, which Ghanayem said represented a person’s ability to unlock a part of their mind when they come to an understanding, an idea that refers back to the overall concept of curiosity. 

Ghanayem said she drew inspiration for the piece from the art in everyday spaces such as a person’s office space or home. She said there is a curiosity to be found in the lives that go on in these spaces, and in what we can learn about one another through the objects we use and display. 

The Ralph Arnold Gallery on 1131 W. Sheridan Road will showcase the student artwork until Feb. 15.

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