Emmanuel Gallery’s Juried Show
EXHIBITION SHOWCASES STUDENT TALENT
The Emmanuel Gallery’s latest show appealed to CU Denver students, since it comprised some of the best works created by their own peers. This juried exhibition opened before Spring Break and ended April 6.
One of the most immediately noticeable aspects of the exhibition was the variety of represented mediums. Upon entering, a digital projection took up the wall beyond the welcome desk. Just beyond it was a sculpture constructed from discarded tires. Beyond the two of them, paintings hung around more sculptures. The Gallery’s small upstairs brought in more photography and illustration.
Even within a single genre—say, that of sculpture—there was an elaborate birdcage, a carefully assembled wooden bowl, and a delicate bronze work, in addition to the afore-mentioned tires.
Sculptural elements escaped from that medium to dot Marian Gottlieb’s “Scope,” an abstract mixed-media piece from which a couple of dozen nails jut out from the two-dimensional backdrop.
While there were some exceptions— pencil or ink drawings, and a few other smaller-scale projects—the exhibition did not generally feel fettered by the budget of students. Instead it seemed that students had managed to showcase their creativity relatively unrestrained.
Indeed, works like the enormous monochrome painting “Conjoined And Paranoid” by Julie Jablonski seem to directly defy such expectations. This double portrait of Kim Kardashian and Charles Manson, with “I feed so that I exist” emblazoned in the foreground, could not work without the canvas reflecting its larger-than-life subjects. “The vacant and soulless expressions look similar, almost like twins, which is what I wanted to achieve,” Jablonski said.
“The large scale and cropped heads create an anxiety-laden ‘in your face’ experience that supports my concept,” Jablonski said. That’s not to say the concept was easy to implement. “It is difficult logistically to handle and move that sheer size of canvas. It is also a technical challenge to paint that large.” She had to work with outsize brushes to do so, and plans to redo the lettering after the piece comes down.
Jablonski is a fan of “Teresa On Fire” by Jose Cuevas, a historical-looking composition that uses metallic ink to emphasize the hair of a woman backed by an angel.
The unusual medium of scratchboard made a couple of appearances. Scratchboard uses a layer of black ink over white backing, which is scraped away to produce the final image. One resultant piece is “Lost in Cloudy Mountains,” Alisha Yarnali’s dreamlike, somber image of a misty castle or village on a mountain.
There were less serious—though no less interesting—offerings as well. Ryan George’s large, classically-styled ink illustration of a shark/tree hybrid, entitled “Heart Attack,” greeted visitors on their arrival to the second floor, as it seemingly burst out of the pages of a particularly surreal old adventure book. Nearby is Ashley Blocker’s amusing “Into The Mouth,” an acrylic work brilliantly realizing exactly its title, framed by two yanked-open fuschia lips.
The sheer variety of mediums and techniques used made the exhibition seem like a sampler of the different tracks within the College of Arts and Media.
It’s perhaps the fact that there was no central theme or message behind the exhibition that made it so interesting. In its absence, student artists have tapped into their own perspectives to create highly unique pieces.