– Gallery Visio hosts opening of annual expo of works by graduating UMSL fine arts students on November 7.
PHOTO: Art works by UMSL senior fine arts students at the Senior Expo: ‘Rehearsal’ at Gallery Visio. Photo by Heather Welborn for The Current 2013 (c)


By Heather Welborn, Features Editor for The Current

Gallery visitors view arts works at ‘Rehearsal’ art opening at Gallery Visio on November 7. Photo by Heather Welborn for The Current 2013. ©

Gallery Visio hosted the opening of “Rehearsal,” this year’s Senior Expo art exhibit, on November 7. Seniors set to graduate from the University of Missouri-St. Louis Fine Arts program in 2014 were given an opportunity to submit selected works for the gallery showcase. The senior art exhibit is in its second year, and offers fine arts students a chance to practice professionally presenting and promoting their works to a broad audience. Attendees get a preview of the diverse creative efforts of emerging student artists aiming to make an impact in the art world. The exhibit runs through January 8, 2014.

Gallery visitors snacked on sushi and spinach dip while viewing the art. Some started inquisitive conversations with the student artists as they sipped coffee. The event had a celebratory mood, with many artists seeing their relatives and friends in attendance to support the showcase. The exhibit was composed of diverse pieces, both in composition and execution. Wire sculptures adorned corners of the gallery, wedged between canvases heavily textured or shiny with thick clear lacquer. The size of the art varied as well, from paper-sized drawings to canvases larger than the artist who submitted it.

David Lee, senior, studio art, served as the event’s DJ. Lee beamed as he received compliments for an oil portrait of his daughter, titled “Lolita E Lopez-Lee.” The work used large brushstrokes to express the glee and youth of his child’s smiling face. Adjacent to Lee’s piece was the mixed media “Breakout,” a massive multicolored canvas by Zoe Nicholson, senior, studio art, studded with clear inch-sized squares. One of the larger pieces, “Breakout” is a hypnotic experience in acrylic pigment overlap and selective splatter. In some spots, the color protruded three-dimensionally towards the artist, with the slide-like squares precariously clinging to the color by its corners.

Emily Gogel, senior, studio art, offered an entire wall of mixed media art. Gogel incorporated family portraits and personal scraps of media into her pieces. The inclusion of gift-wrapping and journal pages gave her work a sentimental and archival quality. She pointed to a photograph of her grandparents in her piece, “Untitled,” as well as the screen-print she made of the photo sitting just above the original on her canvas. The artist beamed as she pointed out her grandmother, who attended the event.

On the other side of Gogel’s mixed media were two psychedelically painted canvases by Sage Kuhlman, senior, studio art. While one is relatively straightforward in color and form, the second canvas interprets the same scene – a human figure meditating amongst bamboo – with a dream-like wash of expertly-smeared multicolor. The double treatment of the subject suggests the experience of meditation as both liberating and somewhat distorting, visibly different from the former straightforward way of being.

Adjacent to Kuhlman’s pieces was a work by Terri Berg, senior, studio art, “Minimum Wage,” the largest piece in the exhibit. A petite woman, Berg’s canvas towers over her as she explained it to inquiring attendees. Her canvas depicts two men during a fast-food shift, using warm yellow and cool gray almost exclusively to accurately invoke restaurant workspace. Berg notes that the subjects, her coworkers at Dairy Queen, were pleased with the result.

Berg uses the listed price of her piece to examine the value of art in society. While the majority of students marked their pieces not for sale, Berg priced hers at $957.76. She says she calculated the price from the supplies invested in the art, as well as what it would be worth if artists were paid minimum wage for the total hours they invest in their pieces.

Gallery Visio is a student-run art gallery located near the Nosh on the first floor of the Millennium Student Center. The gallery is committed to exhibiting art by UMSL students and alumni. For more info on Gallery Visio, visit their website at www.umsl.edu/~galvisio.

© The Current 2013