The Gallery Effect
The Mars Room has been showcasing student art in a revolving series of art installations this year. First and second grade students had a cumulative showing of their work earlier this spring and seventh grade students exhibited a retrospective of portraiture and still life that they had done throughout the year that exhibited their mastery of value, the use of light or darkness to create a focal point. The eighth grade 2D1 class displayed their continuous contour drawings of guitars in the Mars Room earlier this year and the Digital Photography class will put on the final show of the spring as they display the photographs that they are most proud of from the year.
This spring the Advanced Studio Art class curated their own portfolio of work and chose four pieces to display in the Mars Room that they believe best represent their artistic journey this year. To replicate the gallery experience, the exhibit opening even had hors d'oeuvres and music. Alongside their work, each artist included an artist statement that reflected on their work this year, their inspirations and struggles. Along a single wall facing the installation was a row of large self-portrait pencil drawings of each Advanced Studio Art student. “The artist statements were reflective and also informative for the audience and displaying the traditional large head portraits together created the sense that the whole class was looking out at their show.”
Visual Art Coordinator Chris Kimball notes that when art is displayed properly it elevates the experience for the audience and for the artist. “Unlike a bulletin board, the art is not cluttered by other things and people can stand back and take in the work from an appropriate distance rather than being on top of it in.” The process of framing and arranging the artwork for display also offers students an important perspective on their work. “The Advanced Studio Art students were in control of developing the way their work would look, arranging it, and were making a lot of aesthetic decisions about how the audience should interact with their work. It’s an undervalued part of art education.”