The Opening Reception of Arcadia University’s Student Biennial 2012 was held on Feb. 15. Students, family, faculty and staff flocked to the ground floor of the Commons to witness the inaugural exhibition in the Student Art Gallery. On display were the works of 27 students whose creations had been selected from more than 100 by Charles Ritchie, Associate Curator of of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. This is Arcadia's fourth Student Biennial, the first to be juried by an international expert.
The Art and Design faculty also reviewed the works and awarded four artists whose pieces embody the values of the department, regardless of specific medium or concentration. Amy Perdue ’12, Kay Stauffer ’13, Aly Sim ’14 and Gina Proietto ’15 were the recipients of cash prizes.
All of the works selected for the show represent outstanding efforts from freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors and reflect the strengths and ideals of the department.
“This is glorious,” President Carl (Tobey) Oxholm said in his opening remarks. “I am amazed at the quality of this space, that the walls would literally open and allow us to showcase art in such a professional way. And it is perfect that the very first exhibition in this outstanding space in our new Commons would highlight the work of our exceptional students."
Before announcing the award recipients, President Oxholm spoke to the exceptionally high quality of all of the artwork that had been submitted for jury. “In his description of how he juried this exhibition, Charles Ritchie said he had to make 'hard choices.' That to me is pretty awesome. I know there are some of you who were not selected for this show. Understand that was not an easy decision for an international expert to make."
Perdue received the award for her piece, Animal Familiar, which she crafted from twigs, cable ties and spray paint in 2011. “Over the summer I had this vision of making a jungle of animals out of twigs,” says Perdue. “As I was building it, it started to become more of a self-portrait. People have told me before that my own animal familiar is a gazelle so I just used that as my idea. I’ve heard a number of people refer to it as a number of horned creatures so now I just call it whatever it looks like to me that day.”
“It’s really nice to be recognized by an internationally known artist and curator,” says Stauffer who was selected for her piece Encrustation, a necklace she crafted from sterling silver, brass and porcelain for the Metals and Jewelry III course. The assignment asked students to create 10 duplicates of an item and then to combine them to create a new object.
“I went a little bit crazy and made about 90 little tiny porcelain sea urchins, all hand-crafted individually,” Stauffer says. “I envisioned the ocean and how it’s always moving and changing, so I used chainmail and cut each of the little individual rings and put them together. It rests really heavily in the chest which then becomes encrusted.”
Sims was chosen for her piece Portrait Study of Julia, a charcoal and white conte drawing on paper, the subject of which is Sims’ sister, who posed for the portrait for more than three hours. The award was a welcome surprise for Sims. “It’s exciting,” she says. “I’ll probably spend my winnings on art supplies. I can’t find my oil paints!”
Proietto, a first-year student, was chosen for her high gloss photo of Eastern State Penitentiary, which she produced for an AP Photography course she took in high school. “It feels wonderful,” says Proietto. “When I heard there was a show, I knew that I wanted to enter my photography because I love being able to get it out to the public.”