High school artists advanced beyond years

Grace Woodard's "Thorns and Thistles" (Photo: Tom Shafer/For the Journal & Courier)

Grace Woodard's "Thorns and Thistles" (Photo: Tom Shafer/For the Journal & Courier)

Tom Shafer,
Journal & Courier April 6, 2016

Last week we looked at the wonderful photography that is being produced by our area high school artists as part of the 37th Annual Tri Kappa “New Artists 2016” exhibition currently on display at the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette.

Having only talked about the photos should not in any way diminish the quality of the paintings, drawings, sculpture, and ceramics that fill two galleries in our art museum. There is just so much to look at that it takes two reviews.

When looking at the paintings that were selected for this outstanding show, one must of course look at the material control that each young artist demonstrates.  Our art teachers have excelled at instructing their students in various art mediums.  Gallery goers will see lovely examples of watercolor, acrylics and oil paints.

Grace Woodard's "Thorns and Thistles" (Photo: Tom Shafer/For the Journal & Courier)

What shouldn’t be missed is the interesting subject matter, use of color and creative compositions that have been explored.  Of note is the smallish painting by Trevor Swisher titled “Manhattan Project.”  The artist has produced two paintings side by side, one composed in a rectangle and the other a square.  On the left we see Albert Einstein looking slightly to his right.  His long gray tangled hair looks like cotton candy.  To his left Swisher has painted a stylized rocket that speaks of possible destruction.

Grace Woodard’s large painting titled “Thorns and Thistles” visually screams for attention.  This is due to not only its size, but also because of the artwork’s contrasting use of color.  A young man shirtless stairs straight ahead.  His eyes seem to challenge the viewer.  His skin is painted with forceful strokes in warn flesh tones.  Woodard contrasts the warmth of her subject’s skin with the coolness of light and dark blues, with greens scattered about in the background.

Excellent draftsmanship will be found throughout the galleries in the form of charcoal, graphite, pastel and etching.  The young artists show great control over their various mediums and subject matter.

Alex Taylor’s “Mother Makes Me Wear a Helmet” is simply outstanding with its various monothematic values and proportion control.  Alyssa Dufay illustrates her skill with mixed media in “Broken Down Palace.” The artist has expertly rendered a skeleton with its skull surrounded by a circle of gold luster creating a halo effect.  Colorful flowers balance out the bottom of the composition.

Interesting examples of ceramics and sculpture round out this don’t miss exhibition that highlights the very best of our area’s young artists.

Shafer provides insight about art exhibits in Greater Lafayette. Email him at orieshafer@hotmail.com