Last Saturday the Barone Campus Center transformed from ordinary to extraordinary with the opening of “Starving Artists,” a student run initiative that showcased the art works of Fairfield University students, faculty and employees.
Many of the pieces, although original works, called to mind famous artists or artistic movements. One example was Maryn Mikula’s untitled painting of a futuristic figure that was reminiscent of Boccioni’s bronze sculpture “Unique Forms of Continuity In Space” from 1913.
Both works have a superman like figure that exudes both power and movement. Mikula’s, however, also featured a woman grasping onto the man in the foreground, thus providing perhaps a modern day interpretation of a previous artistic theme.
Jennifer Milano’s photograph of a dreamlike landscape brought to mind another famous artistic movement in that it seemed like a modern day Surrealist masterpiece. Throughout the photograph one girl appears repeatedly, which both plays with the viewers sense of perspective and their perceptions of space. The work also challenges how one sees the ordinary by the skillful blending of different photographs into one seamless artwork.
Another work that stood out at the exhibit was the two-part painting of a mermaid by Lisa Basso. The upper painting depicted the mermaid’s head and torso, while the bottom one was just of her fin. The beautiful hues of green and blue that Basso achieved were striking, as was the mysterious look on the mermaid’s face as she peered out from the canvas with a sideways glance.
Yet again calling to mind artworks of the past was Katie Quell’s painting entitled “Birth.” The piece is almost Abstract Expressionist in nature and Quell said that the layered pastel colors were meant to symbolize “cells growing bigger and at the end their death.” She said that the white squares painted over the semi-circles were “an afterthought and their dripping stands for the dying of the cells.” The exposed parts of canvas give the work a raw feeling and immediacy, as if the piece was still wet.
Kicking off the performance component was guitarist, Brian Wielk, ’06. Wielk, who was also the youngest of all the performers, performed two songs he composed himself. His first song, “Pour Yourself All Over Me,” was about a girl he had met in South Carolina, while his second piece, “The Townhouse,” related more to his experience at Fairfield.
Other guitar performances came from John Doney, ’04, and duo Teig Lynster and Tim O’Connor, both ’05. English faculty member, Beth Boquet, sang a couple of cover songs with Business professor David Schmidt accompanying her on guitar. Nadya Encarnacion, ’05, ditched instruments altogether, reciting a poem she composed herself and singing an acapella rendition of “Reflection,” from Disney’s Mulan.
International flare was also brought to the stage as David Rhee, ’05, performed a solo hip-hop dance to a Korean artist. The entire performance series concluded with a jazz performance by saxophonist Sean Barrett, ’05, and his quartet.
Aside from painting, black and white photography was also prevalent throughout the exhibit. A standout example was Jennifer Warren’s picture of a child captured while watching Barney on television. The photo seems to be a comment on what children see and do when no one else is looking. The child is caught mid-motion and his slightly tilted head makes him seem all the more enraptured by what he is seeing on TV, almost begging the question of what are we teaching our children?
Another moving black and white was Dave Gorman’s photo of a peace protester. The man is covered in body paint with a large peace sign painted on his stomach. The figure is cast in extreme light and dark and these shadows call to mind the darkness cast over our country at the outbreak of the war. Gorman captured the man in an almost Christ like pose and the poignancy of his message is framed in the background by other anti-war messages and signs.
One last photo that really commanded the viewer’s attention and again linked itself to a famous artist or movement was a picture by Megan Moynihan. The large photograph was very reminiscent of Georgia O’Keefe – yet extremely original at the same time. The work is a close up on two legs that creates an image both strange and familiar. It forces the viewer to take a step back and reassess what they are seeing. It is almost like one of those magic eye pictures where two objects are present, but only one can be focused on at a time.
The show, although only one day, was definitely profound in its impact as it provided a forum for the university community to showcase their talents. A showcase that, if continued, can only foster more creativity and mutual support – two things sorely needed at a time when art is often the farthest thing from many people’s minds.