Student art on display at UNO Art Gallery

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Danielle Meadows
CONTRIBUTOR

Art students have their time to shine at the University of Nebraska at Omaha gallery.

The annual juried art student exhibition is open for viewing on the first floor of the Weber Fine Arts Building. A juried exhibition is when a professional guest or panel of judges are selected to review pieces before choosing artists to feature in an exhibit.

Metropolitan Community College animation and computer graphics professor Rebecca Hermann was guest juror of this year’s exhibition. Hermann is a graduate of Cranbook Academy of Art with a master’s degree in painting. Her animations and paintings are often featured in various juried and invitational shows across the country, according to information cards in the exhibit.

Originally, Hermann had 105 pieces by 45 UNO art majors to review. After much deliberation, 58 works by 37 students were chosen to enter the exhibit.

“Since the quality of the work overall was very high, my work was also difficult,” Hermann said. “I let the visual impact and my initial reaction to each piece steer some of my first decisions.”

One of Hermann’s selections is “Pneumonia Study” by Nicholas Clark. This piece is done with graphite on bristol board, making for an incredibly eerie mix of grey, white and black tones. A frail woman is the focal point of the drawing, shown in a contorted position on a hospital bed. Her mouth is wide open and her eyes appear empty–perhaps the final moments before the woman’s death.

The shading of “Pneumonia Study” is beautifully intricate, adding texture and depth to her wrinkled clothing, fluffy pillow and curly hair. A man is shown seated on a couch in the background, looking down while tiredly propping his head up with his hand.

When selecting pieces, Hermann wanted to feel visually stimulated, with some form of communication expressed. The idea of the art had to be relevant, with materials used in an interesting way. She also looked for talented craftsmanship, presentation and how engaged an artist was in their process.

“Putting work out in the world is not an easy thing to do, but it’s a necessary step in becoming an artist,” Hermann said. “The show
displays beautiful, moving, intellectually challenging work by talented individuals.”

Each year in conjunction with the juried show, a hexagon gallery installation proposal is selected by a staff committee. The selected student artist is in charge of all aspects regarding the installation the week before the gallery opening.

Seth Minturn’s video installation “One Second” was picked out of 12 other candidates to be featured in the hexagon gallery. The piece is inspired by social media, a shocking example of how much internet content is produced in a single second.

Minturn believes the mass influx of information has caused many things to be less surprising and meaningful.

“This has drawn our focus away from the things that are happening around us, or that could be happening if we take one second to step away from our devices,” he said.

To see these pieces and more, stop by the UNO art gallery Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public until March 30.

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