State Fair Community College’s 45th annual student art exhibition will open at 7 p.m. today in the Goddard Gallery at the Stauffacher Center for the Fine Arts, with 85 pieces of exceptional art representing a wide range and variety of work.
“We kind of go through waves,” said SFCC Art Instructor Paul Allen. “We have big pieces generally all the time, but this time there seems to be larger pieces.”
Allen was referring to a sculptural piece titled, “Midas,” created by Natalie Winery that involved ceramic flowers, all hand-created and placed individually on a 4-by-5-foot board.
“This is a big piece for a sculptural piece,” he said. “It’s so involved, these are handmade clay pieces, that are painted and are attached. So this is a really involved piece.”
“It’s all hand ceramic flowers and all the gold ones are hand-painted.” Winery said. “It took a lot of time … I couldn’t even fathom to tell you, I worked so much. I mean I haven’t slept in three days, I’ve had three hours of sleep in three days.”
Winery said she was graduating from SFCC this year and would be attending college out of state.
“I’m actually going to transfer to Arizona State University and I’m going to get my Bachelor’s of Fine Art,” she added. ”I did a lot of research on all of the schools and it seemed like the best fit for me, it actually has a really great art program out of all the art schools.”
Winery said she plans to study painting or sculpture before working on a Master’s degree.
“And then I want to eventually teach college level art and work out of a studio,” she added.
Allen also mentioned the large size of a three panel oil on canvas created by Paola Azvrdia, measuring 110-by-50-inches, called, “Tsunami.” Large ceramic art is also scattered throughout the show.
“There’s also some big ceramic pieces,” Allen added. “And there’s another big ceramic piece that’s about 5-feet tall — that’s sitting on the floor.”
SFCC Art Instructor Donnie Luper said it wasn’t unusual to have large ceramic pieces made by his students, because that is what he specializes in. Luper and Allen both agreed creating large ceramic pieces was made possible due to the big kiln in the college’s art department.
“It’s one of the things the (Daum) Museum does, so we have those capabilities. So (Luper) pushes the students. This is a first year, Ceramics I student,” Allen said of the large pot. “They are really ambitious and they did really nice jobs on them.”
When asked if Allen and Luper were seeing style changes in student work over the years, they both said they felt the instant information age was something that affected students as a trend in society as a whole.
“I wouldn’t say styles,” Luper said. “I think the media culture that we live in, this phone, this Facebook — there’s an immediacy there that hurts. And the students want to see that immediacy when they’re creating. So it’s real hard to get them to slow down and build craftsmanship and to think about their own aesthetics. It’s too much bang, bang, bang. But that’s a trend we’ve been seeing for some time, but it is getting worse.”
“Donnie has to especially deal with it,” Allen said. “(With) Drawing (class) you know, just basic craftsmanship like reading the rulers, and surface because they think it should be done in two seconds.”
Both Allen and Luper said they’re seeing students that will go on to refine their future work, because they are concentrating and regulating themselves to develop patience in the craft as artists.
“Basically our classes are full every year,” Allen said. “And the pieces that are in (the show) they have taken their time with. It’s the best that they have done. When you think about it, they have at the most two pieces in and they have a whole year’s worth of work to chose from. So this really is their best, to date. They’ve all worked very hard, they are really getting it.”
The show was organized into a cohesive unit by Daum Museum Director Tom Piche and Registrar/Exhibitions Coordinator Matthew Clouse on Tuesday.
“Tom is real wonderful for that, he has a real dialog with the pieces,” Allen said. “So what happens is, that there is a relationship between the pieces and then they become more. Generally what happens, is things are grouped together that relate to each other in ways that Donnie and I haven’t seen before — in ways that any good curator will do.”
The show will be judged today by Justin Beachler, a Kansas City-based visual artist and curator and alumnus of the SFCC art program.
“He was just nominated for the top 10 Charlotte Street Awards,” Allen said. “It’s the awards in Kansas City for up and coming artists. It’s a big deal.”
Allen said students in the SFCC exhibit would receive first ($300), second ($200) and third ($100) place awards along with up to 10 honorable mentions.
“Marsha Drennon started the President’s Award, and Dr. Anderson, she is going to continue that,” he added. “She’s going to come in and select a piece or two, and those pieces go on campus. That’s really great, that’s really supportive of the students. That work belongs to the school.”
The 2014 Student Exhibition opens at 7 p.m. with an artist reception and awards presentation; the public is invited. It will run from April 17 to May 11 and can be viewed during college or Daum Museum hours.