By Jessica Vento
The famous French artist Henri Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage.” Such creativity is present at the annual Student Art Exhibition which will be open for only one day, May 1. Students will have the opportunity to present their artwork from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibition will take place in the two studios where the work was created: Fine Arts 353, the painting studio, and Fine Arts 323, the drawing studio.
This year, as some times in the past, “the show will not represent all the classes I teach, but some of them: Fundamentals of Drawing, Drawing II (which is an upper-level drawing class), and Special Topics in Studio: Abstraction,” said Professor of Fine Arts Deborah Rosenthal.
This art show has been taking place for about 25 years. It gathers artwork from the classes taught during the academic year. Only students enrolled in these studio-art courses may be in the show, since the show is meant to represent the work of the studio-art program.
“You can expect to see drawings of still life, landscape and the human figure done from a live model, both clothed and nude,” said Rosenthal.
Media represented include charcoal, pencil and oils, said Rosenthal. “In addition to the [figure] drawings, we’ll have drawings and paintings that are abstract — based on geometry, on rhythms and motifs that are non-representational,” she said.
Frances Diaz-Mendoza submitted pencil drawings and oil paintings for the art show. A junior, she is a double major in fine arts (art concentration) and Russian with a minor in Spanish. The artists that she has been studying this semester are Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian and Hans Hoffman. Her favorite thing about the show is that she can display all of her hard work to the Rider community.
“In my drawing class, I was really interested in the rhythm of the composition of my paintings,” said Diaz-Mendoza. “I also was inspired by the softer, more organic shapes. In my abstraction class, I was working with harder structures, and I was interested in using the same shapes but in different ways.”
Louis Esposito, junior fine arts major, will be showing his drawings and oil paintings in the exhibit. His art ranges from the Drawing II and Special Topics: Abstraction classes to his yearlong work for the Undergraduate Research Scholar Awards program. They vary from being “smaller sketches that are quick and basically ideas, whereas others can be pretty large oil paintings that have taken months of time to work on,” said Esposito.
“The show brings us as a program together in the university,” said Esposito. “I think it is great how people can come in and see the great work we’re producing and how serious the work has been.”
Esposito is inspired by the human form and has always been interested in figure painting. He admires Balthasar Klossowski de Rola, also known as Balthus, a 20th-century painter, the most, as well as many of the painters who inspired Balthus, himself, such as Gustave Courbet, Camille Corot and Piero Della Francesca. He also admires artists like Johannes Vermeer, El Greco, Louisa Matthíasdóttir, and artists in the Byzantine style.
Sophomore psychology and fine arts double major Alyssa Marino’s artwork is inspired by the artists who have changed the way the world is perceived, and also by the way she sees the world around her. The artists who have inspired her are Alberto Giacometti, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian and Salvador Dalí.
Her work in the art show is mainly focused on figure drawing. She used charcoal and pencils to draw from a live nude model. She also has submitted work from her abstract painting class, which was largely inspired by the “colorful fractals of rose windows,” according to Marino.
“My favorite thing about the art show is seeing the progress that everyone has made,” said Marino. “The best part about being in the art program is seeing the technique of already strong artists develop even more.”
The art show is meant to help students show off their hard work throughout the semester.
“Exhibiting your work when you are an artist is a very important part of your work — paintings and drawings belong out where they can be seen and where what they have to say gets heard,” said Rosenthal.
Many of the students involved in the show are also the organizers and members of Rider’s Art Society, which sponsored a “wonderful one-day trip to Washington, D.C. to go to the National Gallery and draw,” according to Rosenthal.
The trip was most beneficial for her development in abstraction, according to Diaz-Mendoza.
“During our time at the National Gallery we went to the Byzantine art collection where we saw paintings by artists like Duccio and Giotto,” said Diaz-Mendoza.
Through the exposure to these classic works of art, the students themselves were able to grow as artists.
“Looking at the Byzantine paintings gave me a better understanding of how color relations work in a painting. Also, the study of their compositional ideas, like their use of flat shapes and geometric forms, from the drawings I did at the museum helped me in improving my own compositions for my abstraction class,” Marino agreed.“The trip helped me understand how some of the techniques that were used hundreds of years ago are still relevant in painting today.”