Kittredge Art Show emphasizes quality of students’ work

Kittredge Gallery has been displaying student art since Nov. 14, greeting visitors with a bundle of black plaster hands hanging from the ceiling, a six-foot-tall wooden structure resembling a kaleidoscope and a gown of stitched leaves.
The rooms are packed with prints, paintings, multi-media installations, films and ceramic structures that are all hung, suspended and projected for the Art Students’ Annual Exhibit. The aforementioned pieces are an untitled work by Erin Fremder, Allison Grimm’s “1st Night” and Allie Jones’ “Fall Fashion,” respectively.
The exhibit is open until Dec. 10, so you only have tomorrow to take advantage of this artistic viewing opportunity before the show closes. I suggest taking the study break.
The Arts Administrator for the City of Tacoma, Amy McBride, curated this year’s show. Students submitted up to three of their pieces, which McBride then culled into the standing exhibit.
Margaret Bullock, the Kitteredge Gallery coordinator, said, “The artwork was chosen by quality and effort, not by assignment.”
The resulting show is ecclectic and represents a wide range of mediums, and each piece is impressively executed. Some students, many of them art majors, have all three of their pieces on display.
Rumor has it that McBride picked too many submissions, requiring a second selection round so that the show would fit.
Just as the student body resigns itself to the library to huddle over laptops and print out reams of paper, it seems fitting to assemble work that students have made with their own hands.
As you walk through the gallery, there is a stark contrast between the physical creation of art and the more mundane activity of researching, paper writing and doing lab work.
These contrasting activities bring to mind a quote from Barthold Georg Niebur, the so-called father of histiography: “It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.”
However, students often incorporate lessons from their classes into their artwork.
Andrew Koved playfully uses alphabet magnets to reveal the words of Voltaire’s famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” onto a musical scale, titling his piece “Noted Speaker”.
A print by Jenny Katz grapples with social issues; it creates a triptych of TV screens featuring African American families such as the Obamas and the Cosbys with “The cream always rises to the top,” scrawled above the frames. Katz’s piece is titled “The Meritocracy Myth”.
Others demonstrate both a mastery of the techniques and inventiveness with the chosen medium.
Kristian Shuford’s “cube” is a standard assignment for the Introductory Structure class to create a three-dimensional cardboard puzzle, but the intricacy of her work gives the piece artistic merit beyond the guidelines.
Yuri Kahan’s work from Beginning Printmaking combines lithograph, watercolor and Sumi ink into an explosive piece whose subdued colors bleed across the panels.
Next to Kahan’s print are Abbie Baldwin’s “Cave” and Laura Barrow’s “Alaska,” which are technically well executed using the pop style of screen-printing to depict moments in nature.
Erin Wheary’s untitled piece is shown as a film, though the listed materials are “skewers and media.” Wheary’s work depicts the shadow of a figure crouching and rising back up in slow motion, with his or her head surrounded by a halo of cubes.
These are just a few of the many pieces that fill Puget Sound’s Kitteredge Art Gallery. I haven’t even mentioned Ian Saad’s “Spring Rain,” which hangs small springs by clear threads in a well-balanced piece; or Andrew Grady’s visceral “Suspension Platter” ceramic vessels; or Hattie Lindsley’s “Propriety,” an organic hanging metal orb covered by pantyhose; or Ardea Smith’s highly realistic watercolor and pencil landscapes.
If you haven’t gone already, it’s time to go see for yourself.