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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Freshman strut their stuff in cumulative first-year art showcase


    The creation of art demands both meaningful content and mastery of the craft.

    To illustrate UA art students’ developing skills and artistic visions, a body of 31 stellar works is now on display in the First Year Experience Exhibition 2013 at the Lionel Rombach Gallery.

    In introductory-level studio art classes and workshops, first-year art students are given the opportunity to try their hands at a variety of mediums. For requisite coursework in the First Year Experience program, students take courses in mapping, space and surface and choose three courses of their liking from topics including gaze, experience, amalgam, propaganda and the body.

    “Part of our role here as professors or instructors or what have you is to carefully design the curriculum that allows students to fill in the blanks with their own sort of passion, their own personal incentives,” said Gary Setzer, division chair of the First Year Experience at the School of Art.

    Now through April 24, innovative works created in these classes will be on display at the First Year Experience Exhibition 2013 as pieces indicative of the program’s mission: promoting growth in craftsmanship as well as empowering students with the more abstract tools necessary to effectively translate concepts into images.

    “We really feel that the two, craft and content, work in tandem to make the art experience,” Setzer said.

    The art pieces at the exhibition exemplify students’ dedication to pursuing mastery of these skills; whether in acrylic paint, video, charcoal, print photography or mixed media, the level of skill and intention is palpable in each work.

    The mixed media work “Censorship,” by first-year art student Travis Boswell, is particularly striking. A triptych of distorted, risqué grayscale images set in blocks of wood is viewed behind panes of glass, creating a tangible wall between what the viewer is seeing and what the artist is presenting.

    Three black blocks mask certain indelicacies in the images, while the middle image contains the word “fuck,” printed in bold capital letters. It is a piece mature in its aesthetic appeal and layered levels of meaning.

    The level of skill visible in Boswell’s work is matched in the other pieces in the exhibition. Works were selected based on the quality of craft and content by seven judges, including Setzer and six graduate student art instructors. The resulting exhibition is highly professional, surpassing expectations for work by first-year students.

    Setzer said that the driving force behind such mature work is the particular passion of first-year students, while their mastery of media techniques will develop over time. First-year art students’ work provides a look at the creative journies they will take in the rest of their years at the UA and beyond.

    “We want students to leave curious about the world around them and about how that can contribute to that dialogue,” Setzer said.

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