Jennifer Alejos / The Paisano
Walk into the UTSA Art Gallery and be greeted by a life-size clown, a floating head seated on a red wagon and more innovative works from undergraduate and graduate students.
The UTSA XXIX Annual Student Exhibition features work from many talented students including Jane Liang, Jose Cardenas, Harry Sturgeon, Anna Isabel Cantu and Evan Wagoner. In this semester’s exhibit, one can find portraits, pottery, sculptures and fabulous paintings, all of which complement each other.
This year’s Best of Show went to Jane Liang for her pieces “Still (The White Heart)” and “A-Side.”
Each are made of oil on canvas and follow the photorealism style of painting with dedication to detail and naturalness.
Both pieces appear delicate and dainty while maintaining elegance with the idea of the female figure and the symbolic nature of women.
In “Still (The White Heart),” the figure’s dress is white, which may be symbolic of purity; yet, her pose is awkward and somewhat contorted.
Her stance contrasts with the formal lady-like nature of women. The color palette includes hues of mauves, grays and white undertones — all contributing to the idea of purity.
The woman is fair-skinned, although her facial features are hidden behind her dress; only a few strands of dark brown hair peek behind her shoulder.
The garment appears stretched along the figure with her feet tangled inside the dress. The delicate folds in the dress are a testament to how skilled Liang is in this style with each wrinkle being visible in the garment. The opaqueness in the piece alludes to the depth of the dress while revealing the figure underneath the frock.
In “A-Side,” Liang takes an everyday object like dirty laundry and strips it down to its simple beauty. Liang reveals that the painting is symbolic of the woman figure. She says, “Clothes are very intimate to people and that’s how I relate to figures.”
The laundry consists of floral prints paired with lacey camisoles and other articles of clothing.
The fabrics flow on top of each other, creating the appearance of movement and looseness. Liang’s attention to the details in the fabrics is inspiring and creates an overall visually pleasing addition to “Still (The White Heart).”
Liang will also be featured in the B.F.A. Student Show starting on May 2. In fall 2013, Liang is expected to teach “Art for Non-Art Majors: Drawing.” Liang also wants to continue painting as an artist while she teaches at UTSA.
Across the room from Liang’s work, one can find an oddly stunning piece from Jose Cardenas. Cardenas is another student who is featured in the show whose work concentrates on technology and the world in relation to it being more than one-dimensional. The borders that outline the internal and external worlds are explored while identifying the vagueness of where the lines cross.
On his style, Cardenas says, “for the sake of categories, I would say (it’s) minimal. To elaborate on it: Cerebral, clinical or sterile, experimental.”
In one piece titled, “Feel Free to Tell the Truth,” a sheet of plastic is placed obtrusively with a few lime green lights blinking in the center. Although the sculpture may appear overwhelming at first glance, Cardenas explains that the piece has a deeper meaning.
He explains, “With ‘Feel Free to Tell the Truth,’” I began reflecting how I could go about making a work that is visually and non-visually engaging. Is the concept or message properly delivered to both situations; if so how do I know?,” he continues, “So here I’m attempting to physically manifest the codependency of the internal world and the external. The act of not completely understanding leaves me with feelings of vulnerability and curiosity. To seek the truth is now dependent on the honesty of the indefinite,” says Cardenas.
Cardenas’ other piece in the installation is “Turn of Analysis,” which features a small table that would commonly be used as a nightstand or coffee table with a single light bulb lit inside the frame. The lighting reveals a watercolor spread over the tabletop, creating the illusion of an ocean setting.
Cardenas is proud to be featured in the exhibit among his peers, he says, “It feels great to be a part of these shows. To walk into a gallery and see all the different perspectives, various interest, and approach taken to delivering a concept. There just is so much conversation to be had in these shows, that the possibilities of getting captivated in a piece are high.”
The XXIX Annual Student Exhibition will be showcased at the UTSA Art Gallery until April 17. The UTSA Art Gallery is located on the second floor of the Arts building and is open to all students, free of charge. The gallery hours are Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat. 1 p.m.-4 p.m., closed Sun. and Mon.