The bright, cheerful colors of the background contrast with the brooding darkness of the central figure. Todd Stong '14 captures a certain loneliness in his contemplative self-portait, on display in the 31st Annual Student Exhibition in the David Winton Bell Gallery.
The show — highlighting the talents of 38 student artists — consists of a diverse spectrum of paintings and sculptures. The myriad of original works includes complex portraits, abstract deconstructions and renderings of pop culture images, urbanity and media.
Judges evaluated submissions on their skill and originality, and six winners were selected to receive cash awards, equally split between three males and three females. Judges used perspectives from their experiences in the art world and knowledge of art history in evaluating the works, said Maya Allison, curator of the Bell Gallery. Most students who submit works are visual arts majors, Allison said.
The two jurors were Lucky Leone, a Rhode Island School of Design professor and local artist, and Olive Ahyens, an artist based in Brooklyn whose work has been shown throughout the United States.
This exhibit is unique from other annual shows because of the unexpected and surprising quality of students' works, Allison said.
"With other shows, I do research and find artists," she said, "(but) student shows are always a surprise event." This is because students typically organize the show and it's a group effort, she added.
"All the works are strong," said Brice Peterson '11, a visual arts and English concentrator, who was one of this year's winners and an organizer of the exhibit. He said he thinks the show provides an interesting opportunity to see what other students are doing and what's happening in the department.
"It's very exciting to see what's being made in the building around me," Allison said. While you work in List, you see only bits of students' art works, she said. "It's nice to get a sense of what they are thinking."
This year's winners are Aviva Grossman '11, Kelly Winter '12, Lamia Veerasamy '12, Brice Peterson '11, Michael Price '11 and Harry Reis '11.5. The awards were funded by the Gilbert Stuart Prize in Art, the Minnie Helen Hicks Prize in Art and the Roberta Joslin Prize in Art, according to a press release.
The diversity of perspectives represented in the show — including portraits and abstract mixed-media works — showcases the eclectic talent of University students.
The 31st Annual Student Exhibition will run in the Bell Gallery through March 13.