Shippensburg University students filled The Kauffman Gallery with their works of the semester, celebrating the 41st Annual Student Art Exhibit opening on Saturday.
SU students showed a variety of mediums they used throughout the semester. Refreshments began at 1 p.m., then students, faculty and visitors could roam the gallery before the awards ceremony.
Senior Amanda Cruickshanks won second place for her pieces “Catharsis I” and “Catharsis II.” She used wood, felt, acrylic paint and real insects to make the two collage pieces.
“I knew all along I wanted to work with the color black, [a] collage, and insects. Instead of drawing and painting insects, I bought real ones and had to spread their wings and mount them,” Cruickshanks said. “I titled them ‘Catharsis’ because it was like I was finally purging my artistic ideas and feelings and going big and doing something weird that was unlike anything I’ve done before, something way out of my comfort zone from my usual work.”
Junior Liana Culbertson won the Mixed Media Merit Award for her oil painting called “Got Lucky I Don’t Deserve It.” The piece shows a woman’s body with a die for her head, while holding her actual head in a bathroom.
Culbertson described it as one of her more personal works that is rooted in the exploration of her subconscious through “stream of thought” image-making.
“I’m trying to understand myself better with my art in general by seeing the images and symbols that come out of the process,” Culbertson said. “I try to do this without having a specific feeling/idea that I’m trying to express, because I think my conscious brain takes over too much and the metaphors become too heavy-handed.”
Senior Gaby Binder used wax for her piece “College Life.” The colorful collage includes real money and different types of paper.
“I found all these interesting papers to start off with and build the background, but ultimately I knew I wanted the piece to look like one of those cartoon thought clouds from a distance,” Binder said. “However, only after the viewer gets up close and personal with the painting do they see all the small details that I think run through most college students’ minds on a daily basis in this time period now.”
Junior Kaitlyne Swenson used an actual ticking clock in her piece “Father Time,” which is a plastic skeleton sculpture with exposed flesh. She based it on her experience of her mother’s hospitalization after a heart attack.
“I was very scared and nervous at the time and it really got me thinking about time. Time is precious and those that you care about most can be taken from you at any moment and without warning,” Swenson said.
She used hot glue and paint to resemble the flesh, melting and peeling off his body, and she also used smaller skeleton figures to represent human life, and how small and insignificant people are to time itself.
“I made multiple trips around town to different stores to find the perfect skeleton. The wiring and the ticking of the clock, I really felt would make the piece stand out and symbolize time as a machine and how the idea of time is almost a process. When your time is up, it’s up,” Swenson said.
The 41st Annual Student Art Exhibit will remain open for viewing in The Kauffman Gallery through May 9.