The Student Art Showcase promotes conversations between creator and viewer.
Photos by Austin Chaney.
I have always been and will always be jealous of those who have a knack for art; needless to say, I do not have it. I am always the person who looks over your shoulder when you are drawing or painting and asks the stupid question, “Did you make that?” Obviously I know you drew that; I just watched you do it, but I am always in awe (and disbelief) that someone could take an image from their head and transpose it onto paper. I can’t even draw recognizable stick figures. Of course I also know that art isn’t easy and that artists work incredibly hard to hone their talents, so I am always glad to see a piece of art being displayed and recognized by other people. The UNC Charlotte Student Art Showcase gives audiences that chance to view photos, paintings and drawings created by their peers.
The Showcase features a variety of art styles and mediums. When you first walk into the Student Union Gallery, you are probably drawn to a very large, bright piece called “Pancake” by artist Philip Cherry. The fun images of people and trees on the painting are contrasted by black bubbles and tentacles which, all together, represent Cherry’s alter ego. Chances are, however, that you did not walk directly to that painting, but started at the beach-themed photographs on the left; instead you pass a picture of a pod of pelicans gathered on a dock, then a birds-eye-view of a wave, then an image of a lone pelican on a wooden post all by photographer Grayson Nance. The theme then changed from nature to people within the next few pictures. These included several portraits and a great remake of Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” by photographer Johnathan Helms.
After passing a few smaller paintings and the titan “Pancake” you arrive on a wall again comprised of portraits: One painting called “Brice” by Elizabeth Hammock depicts a man with an expressive face, another very interesting one, “Poe Meets Gustav,” which is Edgar Allan Poe painted in the style of Gustav Klimt, by Jodie Eiler and “The Misunderstanding” by Domanique Webb, a geometric painting of a black woman. The last section before leaving the gallery is a menagerie of smaller, hand drawn pictures. Almost all of them are in black and white save a very tiny “Self Portrait” by Christine Ledbetter. The images in this corner are perhaps some of the strangest in the gallery. One drawing, Brianna Hommings’ “Body Art” is a portrait of a woman covering her face with her hands which have eyes drawn on them. Another, “Winding Sands of Time” by Zachary Timmons, a fellow Niner Times writer, depicts what appears to be King Tut’s sarcophagus spilling sand from an hourglass and onto the pyramids which have been upset and partially destroyed.
The Student Art Showcase not only allows audiences to view the artwork but also lets them vote on which piece they liked best, promoting a conversation between creator and viewer. The three artists whose work was voted on most often win a monetary prize at the Showcase reception, which was held this past Thursday, Oct. 20. This year’s first place winner was Stephanie Lam for her drawing, “Lost.” This image shows a woman with a woeful expression on the part of her face that isn’t covered by her hands. Her arms are covered in lines much like those on road maps. Part of the appeal of Lam’s piece is the incredible shading, which amplifies the mood of the artwork. The second place winner was Dutch artist, Myrthe Biesheuvel, who submitted a small painting, “Territory Drift.” This image is very childlike and fun; it shows a seagull holding a flag and riding on the back of a walrus in a red cape on the beach. Biesheuvel also submitted two other works to the gallery. Third place went to the Niner Times’ own Pooja Pasupula for her photographs of the Keith Lamont Scott protests in September, which she called “Black Lives Matter.” There are four images in the frame, all of which are very serene and peaceful despite the high tensions of the actual event.
Every piece in the gallery is remarkable and enviable, and I would like to thank the artists for sharing their work and their passion with us. You, too, can visit the gallery and see for yourself what your peers have to offer. The Student Art Showcase will be in the Student Union Gallery until next Monday, Oct. 31.