A Diverse Body Of Student Work

The Gelb Gallery is a treasure trove of art. Nestled between the Elson Art Center and George Washington Hall, the gallery currently houses the Spring Term Art Show of student work. The exhibit features a variety of mediums—oil, wirework and drypoint printing just within the gallery’s main room. Once inside, one sees the final projects from drawing, printing, mixed media and the mandatory Art 225 classes. Among these varied pieces, some especially stand out. “Self-Portrait” by Danica Mitchell’s ’09 is particularly striking at 47 inches tall and 47 inches wide. Mitchell is featured on the left side of the painting, in a self-portrait done entirely with pen and marker. Surrounding Mitchell is bright blue masking tape that fades in the background. Oil-paintings of a group of slate-toned students laughing against a muted sky-blue contrast these bursts of color. If one steps back, the painting seems to have Mitchell in clear focus in the foreground with the more indistinct portraits in the background. Adding even more surprise to the composition is a blood red splatter in the right hand corner. Despite these varying elements, the entire piece flows together, with the red splatter tying in the red dabs of paint covering parts of the masking tape. In a completely different style, medium and size, Rebecca Schultz ’09 completed a drypoint portrait of Edward Scissorhands, a piece both intriguing and extremely detailed. In contrast with the scale of Mitchell’s, Schultz’s book-size piece seems rather tiny. The depth of Schultz’s piece is a direct result of the detail she placed in capturing the figure—the individual lines of the hair, thin lines on the cheek and emotion held in the eyes of the figure. These components all come together to form an inspiring, vampire-like portrait reminiscent of a Victorian photograph. A poster of Scissorhands from Tim Burton’s movie of the same name was Schultz’s inspiration. She said, “I am a huge fan of movies, and I really like the weird ones like Edward Scissorhands and [films directed] by Tim Burton.” After spending a week carving into a sheet of plastic in order to create a relief of Edward, Schultz began to make prints of the piece. She particularly liked this style of printing because “with printing—at least this style of printing—it’s such a fine point that when you finally are finished carving out your picture and printing it, the result is almost like a pen drawing.” Pen drawings were certainly present at the spring term Student Art Show, exemplified by a six-paneled accordion book by Bryan Ha’s ’12 done entirely in black marker and pen titled “Love at First Sight.” Unlike many of the pieces in the art show, Ha chose to use cardboard instead of paper. He said, “[Cardboard] gave more weight and the color of the background seemed to fit better with the style in which I was drawing; dark and mysterious, yet bold with significance.” Ha’s graphic pen-and-ink style was largely influenced by the Marvel comic books, but he also mentioned that he strove to emulate Edward Hopper, a painter who worked in realism and painted real-life situations during the 19th century. Like Hopper, Ha tried to recreate ordinary events in the lives of normal people, and began his piece with two people meeting over coffee. Then, in the words of the artist, “they feel affection towards each other, leading them to spend more time together, until they fall in love.” In a wire sculpture by Collin Benedict ’12, two very different elements fall in love: line and mass. In Benedict’s piece “Abstraction: Line and Mass,” a display of harmony is depicted between a rolling wire structure and seemingly floating cubes. Benedict said, “I wanted to create something that was intertwining and continuous, two loops that would continue on until infinity.” The end product was a wire ladder shaped like a Mobius strip with the two white cubes dangling between the curve. Benedict said she was influenced by the giant sculptures of artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Mitchell, Schultz, Ha and Benedict’s exceptional pieces are only a few of the several treasures held in the spring term Art Show. Despite the fabulous spring weather, take a moment to wander through the gallery on your way to GW—before this 8th wonder is stolen away.