The small Chelsea Gallery, tucked into a hallway space in the University Center is now one of the most exciting places to be on campus. The student art exhibit, which will open November 29, is waiting patiently for the throngs of viewers it should have, but inevitably won’t.
The show is an adequate reflection of the students. It’s intense, yet not without a sense of humor. Most of the works are forward looking, with a few capitalizing on the achievements of the past.
Outside of the gallery, glass cases hold stoneware, ceramics and clay. Here the mood is whimsical, but with no shortage of talent.
Andrea Freeman’s Cockroach Platter is a gleaming shrine to the most repulsive of bugs. The contradiction of filth on what is generally used to hold food is an interesting juxtaposition, and it works. It takes decoration into an entirely new realm.
Three paintings greet the gallery visitor on the exterior wall of the space. Susan Gregory’s Self Portrait is an intense work. Her eyes warn of further intrusion into this very personal painting. She looks defiantly at the viewer, in an almost challenging stance. She is unapologetic and honest, two traits found only in very good art.
Jessica Shipman’s Untitled and Susan Gregory’s Tree join the self- portrait on the exterior wall. Both are fluid interpretations of landscapes, though from differing perspectives. The three of these are connected in their unorthodox interpretation of color, which extends into a world of translation instead of direct communication.
Inside texture reigns supreme. First with Michelle Humphrey’s Sea Jar. These raku ceramics capture the surface of crustaceans, and other sea creatures, while their iridescent tops shimmer with the promise of sea foam.
Christi Pickern’s Skin of the Used is a violent gash in the wall of the gallery. It bleeds in red tones that are expressed in ceramics and mixed media.
Possibly the most intimate work is Gloria Durden’s painting Personal Universe. It is a compilation of geometric forms and colors. It is surreal and in its way ornate. The painting is framed many times with horizontal and vertical lines and shapes, but has infinite depth.
The two landscapes by Kim Falls transport the viewer delicately to a soft dream world. Her paint application is at times nearly translucent, her colors pure and her brush strokes loose but impossibly precise. The works display a full understanding of light and depth.
The show is a good indication of what the art department is about. It is creative, full of whimsy and talent, but undeniably built upon a base of discipline.