Photos by Chimena Ihebuzor
Those that visit the Popp Martin Student Union can stop by the Art Gallery to peruse the walls that are outfitted with the works of students and non-students alike. The exhibition coincides with the release of the physical Sanskrit literary arts magazine that publishes a collection of artwork and literature each year. Every piece tells a unique story and conveys a multitude of thoughts, feelings and experiences, bringing them directly to the UNC Charlotte campus.
One thing that will stand out to those that visit the gallery is the contrasting of color with black-and-white. There’s also a lack of sculpture-based art, which were especially prevalent last year. This year, the gallery itself has a more open feel to it, encouraging visitors to flow from one piece to next as the natural sunlight lights up the room. Something that also really stands out about this year’s gallery is the focus on portraiture, specifically in the form of paintings, drawings and photographs.
One of the standout artworks of the exhibition is “New Page, New Me” by Aba Hutchinson, featuring a portrait of a young woman drawn with pen and marker on an opened sketch book. Split across two pages, the woman seems to have undergone great change, becoming her true self; this is especially relevant to college students, representing the growth and evolution that young people experience in their academic, personal and social lives. The “old self” is monochromatic, but the “new self” is vibrant, colorful and full of life.
Another highlight of the gallery is “Mini” by Rachel Russell, a photograph of a woman and a black cat. The entire portrait utilizes black, drawing the viewer’s attention the woman’s face and then the seemingly-hidden cat. One could say that the woman is caught in between light and darkness; it’s worth noting that the black cat is placed directly in front of the woman, something that typically symbolizes bad luck and evil.
Positioned next to “Mini” are two works by Jessica Miller; these portraits are prismacolor on paper and seem to capture life on the UNC Charlotte campus. The first, “BA Portrait of Tommy Dortman,” showcases a young man with an impressive jawline and a slightly-tilted head. The other, “Rent-A-Puppy,” looks like a scene from the CHHS/COED quad area, where one will sometimes find stressed college students taking a break from classes to play with four-legged friends. These two drawings are quite simple, but serve as excellent snapshots of what someone might see while wandering around campus.
The Sanskrit gallery always provides a unique look at the diverse talent and craftsmanship of the UNC Charlotte study body, as well as those from all around the world. While the Student Union Art Gallery itself may be small, there is plenty to see when one enters. Stories are told and new perspectives are seen through the stunning paintings and awe-inspiring portraits. This article only serves as a tease of what you will find when you pay a visit to the gallery (running until May 31) and spend a few minutes taking in all of the talent that hangs on the walls. Be sure to also pick up a copy of the Sanskrit literary arts magazine to see even more works, including collections of short stories and poems curated by the Sanskrit staff. Not only will the works inspire you, but the magazine will serve as an excellent keepsake.
More information about the Sanskrit literary arts magazine can be found at SanskritMagazine.com.
NOTE: Both the Niner Times and Sanskrit are departments of Student Niner Media.