The student showcase, displayed in the lobby of the Krannert Hall of Art and Music, is a collection of the University’s own student artwork pulled from the 2023 Fall Semester. The show was hosted by the Friends of UE Art, and the pieces were selected and put up by gallery director and professor Corliss Chastain.  The student showcase gives students the opportunity to support their peers and view the accomplishments of the art students over the first semester. The reception of the student showcase was held on January 25th from 5:30 to 7:00 PM in the Krannert Gallery, and was attended by many. Among the menagerie are a bounty of different mediums, including but not limited to photography, colored pencil illustration, acrylic paint, ink, graphite, and even ceramic pieces sitting in the display cases. Some pieces stand out among the rest as exemplary works from our student body, and here are just a few:

Katie Anderson’s colored pencil still life of lipstick and pearls is a soft, beautiful piece embodying materialism and femininity. A string of pearls winds its way throughout the piece, trailing over the mirror and adding a smooth movement through the composition, creating a line for the eye to follow. The red of the lipstick is reflected in shining pink tones across the pearls, carried through the pearls to the small delicate pills rested carelessly across the handheld mirror compact. The mirror in the background demonstrates the artist’s skill in perspective and talent by reflecting the main focuses, capturing both the light and color perfectly. The piece captures a certain fragility and futility in femininity, reminding ourselves that while objects and effort can make us colorful, we must put that same effort into our health, and that same effort can be just as easily used to bring ourselves down. The pills in the piece are left ambiguous as to their purpose, letting the audience speculate whether or not they affect the implied owner in a positive or negative way. While the color palette and subjects are bright, with white being the most dominant tone throughout, suggesting purity, one cannot ignore how easily the narrative could be flipped on its head.

Scattered throughout the exhibit like hidden objects are three ice cream cones done in acrylic paint by Dezeree Shepherd. Each piece is painted from the same picture, with the color scheme and tones shifting throughout. This study on saturation and color palettes tells a tragedy in three acts – first, you get a beautiful, vibrant mint chocolate chip ice cream cone, so bright it almost hurts your eyes, Then, the vibrant sweet cream almost burns your eyes as it slips from your grasp and plummets to the ground. Put off by this recent defeat, you go back to the shop, cursing yourself for your hubris. You grab a softer, lighter, kinder cone, settling for strawberry instead, sprinkling it with chocolate chips. You go out again, ready to brave this cruel, unforgiving, ice-cream-less world – when you repeat your folly. Like Simba to Mufasa, you watch your hopes and dreams plummet to the ground again, splatting on the pavement, slowly melting into the sidewalk. Your butterfingers hath sealed your inevitable fate, a flaw akin to the hubris of a Greek tragedy. The world goes gray and void of life as you sink to the ground, surrounded by the remains of what could have been your beautiful ice cream cones. 

A photograph that separates itself from the rest by sheer absurdism and shocking imagery is an untitled piece by David Dilegee, depicting a man, jaw stretched and practically unhinged, an arm being birthed from his mouth gripping a giant cigarette and shoving it into his eye, fitting the socket bloodlessly, as if the eye had never existed at all. Perhaps the socket was merely a sheath for the cigarette, holding it until the arm was ready to hatch and pull it from its place of hiding. The entire shot is tinted orange, giving a hazy glow to the already disorienting composition. It is surprising and confusing and takes more than one visit to fully comprehend. The editing is seamless and clean, immersing the viewer in the strange world the artist has built with just one snapshot.

All in all, the student showcase thoroughly displayed the wonderful aptitude and skill of the artists within University of Evansville, putting effort into realizing the potential of our own wonderful creators. Many thanks to the Friends of Art and the lovely professors in the Art Department that make this all possible.

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