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Arts & Culture

Professionals feature student artwork

Contributing Writer
Friday, March 16, 2012

The hand-selected work of 30 student artists is on display at the David Winton Bell Gallery for its 32nd annual Student Exhibition, a joint effort between the gallery and the Department of Visual Art.           
Entering the show, it is easy to overlook a small piece drawn in graphite by Sheila Sitaram ’15. But the quiet work bursts with energy – its curvy forms swirl together, evoking movement through their metallic shimmer.
“It was my first time using graphite powder – you can just buy a jar of it,” Sitaram said. “I just wanted to explore what I could do in the medium.”
Sitaram is one of 63 students who submitted work to the exhibition. This year, Deborah Bright, acting dean of fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Ellen Driscoll, the head of sculpture at RISD, both acted as juries, said Ian Alden Russell, the Bell Gallery’s curator. They evaluated all submissions anonymously, basing their judgments on each piece’s individual aesthetic and technical precision.
Russell said the show often gives visual art students their first experience of public success. While the works were chosen and hung by professionals, undergraduates undertook the rest of the process.
“Students really were in charge of everything,” Russell said. He added that the exhibition “gives them an opportunity to show their work in a competitive environment that is still supportive.”
Another work, called “Flowers and Laces: Infinity,” weaves thread into canvas to shape exquisite floral patterns. The piece was one of two by Jae Eun Lee ’13 accepted to the exhibition.
“It’s very satisfying to see my work in a professional setting,” Lee said. The Bell Gallery is open to the public, showcasing Providence’s cultural assets and allowing more exposure for the show’s artists.
“We try to be one of the doors out of the ivory tower,” Russell said. “We see ourselves as the place where students, faculty and the outside world can interface.”
The exhibition will be on display in the gallery until March 18.

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