The emerging artists ranging from grade 11 to 12 of Langley Fine Arts School collaborated to exhibit a phenomenal showcase at the Mary Pratt Gallery. This year, the students presented their diverse range of artistic mediums and skills with the concept of Self Portrait. This exhibition is a great opportunity to observe various mark makings.
Starting from December 11 at 7:00 P.M, the art opening commenced with thegreeting of delightful music performed live by the students of the music department. The performance certainly brought the showcase to the next level. Looking at the exhibition as a whole, the first noticeable theme was the division of the color scheme. There was a colored oil painting outside the gallery wall and grayscale within the gallery. The balance between these two was an interesting connection. As I viewed the exhibition, I could certainly find the purpose for it.
Among the art pieces, visitors could find an intriguing diversity of artistic mark making and materials, including graphite, oil paint, and handmade paper pulp. Two projects by the grade 11’s were both inspired by renowned artists, Lucian Freud and Chuck Close. They fearlessly took on the painting by challenging the color usage and trying not to paint perfectly and aiming for their genuine self. On the other hand, the Chuck Close inspired paper pulp images were incorporated with personal stories through the piece and the students were challenged to trust their eyes. “If I put number 8 instead of number 7 it changes the whole feature of my face,” said artist, Sarah Lee.
Creating tile mosaic self-portraits, one artist, Jodie Flink, especially enjoyed the paper pulp image project. She said that “it was like a discovery even though it was my past.“ Many people including Jodie usually forget the little happy moments throughout their childhood. However, the project allowed her to recapture that.
The Grade 12 portraits were rendered life size on Stonehenge paper where exciting expressive mark making took place along the idea of portraying their ideal selves. The body language of the artist’s self was interesting to see because I was able to know a lot about them just by their choice of the body language in the work and how they played with different types of unique mark makings.
One such piece done by Tyler McGee called “I am Inside My Own Head” had powerful explosive marks which really drew my attention. Quick and different pressures of lines and lost edges were the key point and this made it possible for the exhibition to be particularly unrestricted from the usual way of using graphite. Additionally, the black and white monochromatic color schemes and contrasting shades made it possible for me to enjoy the intense strokes and expressive lines more; if the colors were added, it might have been quite overwhelming.
From this showcase, viewers were definitely invited to indulge the artist’s creative experiments and individuality. Many artists were able to learn to trust the process and overcome the struggles and uncomfortable stages.
This exhibition is a great opportunity to observe various mark makings and mediums. I love the monochromatic scheme inside the gallery because it truly allows the visitors to observe and contemplate the artwork without the distraction of hectic colors. Moreover, this exhibition is all about viewing the works actively, looking at it up close, and from afar.
- Tell me what you have learned and gained from this project?
- What is one of your strength in your piece and why?
- How did you titled your piece and why?
- “Since it was my first time using oil paint, I have learned there are different ways to make textures. Also, I gained interest in oil paint.”
- “I have really enjoyed getting inspired from Chuck Close and that work would be the strongest because I was able to put my personal memories and items… I really feel attach to this piece.”
- “This whole project made me think about my past and what I am made of. So, I called it as ‘reminders’. Each and every object that I have put in the paper pulp made me remind of my past.
- She loved the project itself and she found it fascinating how “…people can get to know me without personally knowing me.” Also, she learned the importance of having a concept “As long as I put myself and my memories into the painting, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the outcome is. As long as people understand that each layers of paint means something.”
- “I like the tightness of my Chuck Close inspired artwork.”
- “My piece is called ‘Calloused’ because it’s about my past experiences that I managed to heal from through music to make me who I am today.”
- “As I was looking for meaningful objects I learned more about myself.”
- “The strength in my piece would be my concept behind the paper pulp piece, because I had two major sicknesses in my life and I life changed dramatically because of it and that was why I have put the information on pneumonia and meningitis.”
- “This whole incident that happened in my life made who I am right now. Therefore, I called it ‘now you see me inside out’.”
- He learned that he is “now capable of creating large scale drawing.” Also, he learned how to use “lose, and non-defined lines” to create more exciting art work.
- “I like my contrast on the shoes. That would be the favorite part in my piece. “
- “I started off with different concept in mind but it changed as I worked on the drawing…and the first thing that came up to my head was the title of I am inside my own head.”
Photos by Amber H Zhang
Source: Blue Dog Press – Seung Won Chun