by Nina Hufman
The Arts Graduate Exhibition for the class of 2022 is now open at the Reese Bullen Art Gallery at Cal Poly Humboldt.
Kylie Maxfield, a senior whose work is featured in the exhibit says that having one’s work in a gallery is an integral part of being an artist.
“Being a student artist myself, I think it’s really important to be able to showcase my work,” Maxfield said. “To feel validated for what I’ve been working on. It inspires me to continue my education in art.”
The exhibition showcases the work of graduating students in the Art Department. It features work from a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, illustration, drawing, printmaking, photography, ceramics, and jewelry.
“There’s a lot more diversity than I would expect,” said student Duncan McDougall.
Another student, Justin Henderson, also appreciated how diverse the selection of art is within the gallery.
“Each one is pretty unique,” Henderson said. “I like that there’s a lot of creativity going on.”
McDougall and Henderson were excited to be able to attend an exhibition of their peers’ art. Student exhibitions allow for their work to be seen by those outside the art department.
“Otherwise, I wouldn’t see any of their art,” said Henderson. “I don’t have any art classes, so I’m never over here.”
“There’s a lot of student creativity,” McDougall said. “You don’t really see a lot of these student galleries.”
Displaying their work also gives student artists new opportunities.
“Having this graduate exhibition also gives students the chance to be awarded for what they’ve been working on,” Maxfield said. “I think that if students didn’t have the opportunity to do something like this that feels real, then they probably wouldn’t make as much or be inspired to.”
One of the opportunities that Cal Poly Humboldt art students have is the opportunity to win the Permanent Collection Purchase Prize award. The honor is given to one student from each graduating class. The work is then added to Cal Poly Humboldt’s permanent collection of student artwork.
Maxfield says that selecting the correct piece for an exhibition is a challenging task.
“I think critiques really narrow down, like what are people interested in and what is catching people’s attention,” Maxfield said. “Getting a lot of opinions on what strikes people as an interesting photograph.”
Maxfield also discussed challenges with her chosen medium, photography.
“I think that sometimes it’s hard to get through with people,” Maxfield said. “Like a lot of people kind of think ‘oh, well they just press a button.’ With paintings or drawings it’s a lot more evident the amount of work that goes into it, but with photography, not as much.”
There were many interesting pieces featured in the gallery. One sculpture entitled The Human Flower was the topic of discussion among students.
“I think The Human Flower rules,” McDougall said. “If I had a million dollars, I’d buy it right now.”
Another opinion on the piece was offered.
“I appreciate that a lot of work went into that, but it just freaks me out,” Henderson said.
The exhibition will run through Saturday, May 14 with a reception to follow the College of Arts Humanities & Social Sciences commencement ceremony.