Art Salon

Vlad Voinich, Staff Reporter

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The Winter Student Art Salon officially started on Jan. 15 and is going to be open till Feb. 13. Whitman students who have taken art classes produced the works displayed in the gallery space. The presence of different forms of visual culture in the gallery room, such as paintings, sculptures, photography and video installations create a welcoming atmosphere.

What stands out when entering the room is a work by Samantha Tong ‘19 called “Stumped” (2018) that is made using a stump, plaster, glue and borax. The name directly points to the main material — the stump of a tree. The work evokes a number of emotions, which may vary from concern related to the environmental crisis, to pleasure from the fascinating combination of the colors green, white, grey and brown.

Some of the remarkable photographs at the exhibition were taken by Sage Ali ’21. In “Jimmy and Perfect is Nothing,” the artist addresses the notions of space, perception and motion. The black and white nature of the photographs adds to their mysteriousness and complexity. Asare Buahin ’20 had an emotional reaction to Ali’s piece.

“[Jimmy and Perfect is Nothing] evokes a feeling of emptiness. I’m curious as to how long the piece took to capture,” said Buahin.

Fields Ford ’19 contributed to the exhibition with “Everything But,” a black and white photograph depicting a kitchen sink next to a window and some commonly used objects, such as cups, detergents and plants on the windowsill. Ford plays with the idiomatic expression “everything but the kitchen sink,” which is a symbol for the abundance of all kinds of things and objects.

“Colorful” by Ruilong Zhuang ‘20 is a photograph of the famous installation in the Reid Campus Center. Ruilong, a Photography student, continues the narrative popular among the artists whose works are presented in the gallery space — the relationship between the physical form of a piece and its name, as the photograph itself is black and white. Even though there are only two colors (and their shades) in the photograph itself, a viewer who is related to Whitman College or has visited Reid at least once, will likely reproduce the image of original colorful installation.

An Advanced Painting student Yuanhao “Eric” Gu ‘19 is the artist behind the canvas painting, “Horizontal Dumbness.” This artwork is full of different colors and undefined shapes that allude to the movement of abstract impressionism of the past century. Gu decided to utilize a canvas that was previously used by a different artist as a material for his own work.

“It was kind of hard because I have a personal style. It’s like a conversation and a battle with the ego of the previous artist. And it’s kind of a dumb process, that’s why I picked this specific word. There are several strokes on the previous painting that look like the strokes of the word “dumb,”” said Gu. The word “dumb” is painted primarily in yellow and appears three times on the canvas, all of which are vertical (one more example of the tendency of playing with words and art characteristic of Whitman arts students).

“Eric Gu’s painting is quite appealing, the piece is random and [the] colorful nature drew me towards it,” said Buahin.

Visitors have an opportunity to vote for their favorite work of art, and the artist who garners the most votes will receive a prize of $100 at the end of the exhibition on Feb. 13. Overall, the exhibition demonstrates a great variety of artworks that appeals to individuals with different aesthetic tastes.

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