Since last Wednesday, Framingham State University students have been seen wandering into the Mazmanian Gallery, attracted to the liveliness of the artwork. Most students have their headphones in their ears, feet crossed and take their time looking at the maze of sculptures and the visual décor lining the walls.
Yesterday, the artists of the honored pieces that were featured in this year’s Annual Juried Exhibition mingled with the FSU community, giving them faces and voices to connect the admired artwork.
The Annual Juried Exhibition awarded senior Elaine Rubenoff as first place for her portrait of herself as a young child, which incorporates childhood flashbacks of pure happiness.
The portrait is of a fair blond child, accompanied by a brown teddy bear, with her hands wrapped securely around a bowl. The canvas is cropped just below her eyes. Rubenoff’s motives were to crop the portrait in a way that would encourage viewers to look at this portrait and perceive their own childhood memories.
In essence, painting is an outlet for Rubenoff and a gateway to inner memories of childhood and a release of emotions.
“I lost my father about a year and a half ago,” said Rubenoff. “He passed away from cancer. Ever since then, I have been searching for satisfaction in life through these paintings and reliving my childhood, but with present feelings.”
Rubenoff’s portrait captures the moment of innocence and the joys of imagining the unknown experiences of life to come.
Terence Tavares a senior and second place winner of the Annual Juried Exhibition for his reduction woodcut piece, “Enjoy it while it lasts,” created a melting ice cream with the strong deliberate features of a human face.
According to Tavares, he had chosen woodcut reduction because the wood grain becomes entwined with the image and its meaning.
Just as ice cream is temporary, always in danger of melting, so is youth and beauty, which does not last as years go on.
Tavares’ art is derived from everyday life, quotes, responses to events and new elements.
“To me art is everywhere. People do art and don’t even notice,” said Tavares. “To me the creative process is when you have to explore yourself to discover the true you – why you do what you do.”
Kendra Lohr, a former FSU student who transferred to Massachusetts College of Art and Design, also had her artwork, “I AM YELLING AT YOU” selected. Created with charcoal, stoneware, yarn and red acrylic painted onto the yarn, a figure’s limbs emerge from a box. At first glance, it seems to be a cat, simply playing with yarn, but a closer look reveals a human chin, eyes, nose and bare knee caps and elbows while the rest is coated in black charcoal. There is no mouth, giving an overwhelming haunted and isolated feeling.
Lohr envisioned this piece three dimensionally, but as her hands molded the figure, it developed into the consolation of being powerless in terms of expression.
After simplifying the eyes but paying attention to the texture of the fur and delicate limbs, the figure developed with human features, emotions and tension of the experience of interaction, even simply by eyesight, between people and an individual.
Lohr believes that a person projects his or her views on individuals, yet individuals remain powerless to show their true selves and intentions. Yet with an interaction, people have the power of choosing whether or not they expose themselves. It is an act of will, according to Lohr.
The symbolism of the closed box, Lohr explained, was “because it is something he [the figure] is in control of, unless someone were to go under the string and look inside.
“Yet, there would still be not much to see because nothing has been given, and he chose not to reveal himself,” Lohr added.
Melinda Collins, an art major with a concentration in graphic design, featured her sculpture, “Osseous.” Using clay as her medium, a new experience and doorway opened for Collins instead of her typical work on a computer screen. She contorted the clay into smooth curves and dwelling depths.
The new experience of working with her hands, Collins said, was absolutely liberating.
“It’s like therapy for me – being a commercial artist can sometimes be restricting,” said Collins. “I enjoy being able to let go and let my creativity take over.”
After much positive feedback, especially about her sculpture looking like a bone structure, Collins then chose the name “Osseous.” The form, surprisingly was unintentional and developed as she went disposing, or rather destroying, parts that didn’t work, said Collins.
In the end, “Osseous’” many contours all seemed to connect on an inner level, flowing into the next curve, dip and bulge as if each molding contributed to a larger meaning and energy unknown to the human eye.
Candace Heim, a freshman who aspires to go into marketing, is the creator of “Stressed Out Strawberry,” done in charcoal. This piece features a suspended strawberry over a rural landscape. Within the strawberry, a face is harbored among the seeds that are delicately perfected.
The face portrays an emotion, more of a sorrowful and distressed gaze. Elongated hands rest on the cheeks, framing the defined chin, as a finger pulls gently on the skin to reveal an inner eyelid.
According to Heim, the face is particularly a baby’s face, sharing a glimpse into her motives, being playful and surreal with her artwork.
Originally, Heim wanted to create contrast among colors of yellows, reds and oranges, but slowly transitioned into using charcoal, since it allows more wiggle room to get messy, she said.
Heim did not expect her art piece to be featured.
“My artwork and personality go hand in hand with each other,” said Heim. “Most people find me to be an oddball, and kind of out there – but I like that. … And, I’m a paradox in my own self.”