PHOTO ESSAY: Allied Arts Competition showcases student work

People looking at gallery

It is a little ironic how finding student artwork can be difficult to find on a campus full of students making art. Allied Arts wanted to give a specific place for student artwork in the basement of the student union in the 7th annual Student Union Art Competition. 

Group talking

The competition took in submission from students of all backgrounds. Gianna Martucci-Fink worked with Allied Arts to make sure the gallery was curated for students by students. 

“I never want people to think this event is just targeted at art students," Martucci-Fink said. "The goal of having art in the student union is to bring in this diversity and this inclusiveness that we can bring to campus through art.”

Bec with painting

With varying sizes of displays, apparel merchandising and sustainable design senior, Becs Burroughs' piece was an attention grabber.

“With this painting I was watching a bunch of scary movies and I noticed a common theme amongst the female characters and how they mixed horror and seduction," Burroughs said. "So this one, it’s kinda scary and all the blood and gore and all the gross stuff. But there’s also still an aspect of her being sensual and being sexy.”

Bec talking

The attention was the point of both of her pieces on display. Both with focuses on the female form. Burroughs wanted to get a reaction from the people who see her paintings. 

“I just kinda want people to respond accordingly," Burroughs said. "I think everyone has a different response to it. Like people will look at this one and kinda go 'oh ew' and some people look at it and go ‘oh that’s beautiful, I love that.’ I think it is just kinda interesting seeing the different responses that people have.”

Anne-Marie with painting

In contrast to the bright red of Burroughs' "Female Horror," Anne-Marie Hagen's black and white "Finally" gives a break to the eyes in more ways than one.

“I definitely titled it Finally because at the time I wasn’t getting a whole lot of sleep and in class we would have models who they have to stay still for 15 minutes so they would progressively fall asleep while they were modeling for us," Hagen said. "I just kinda wanted to capture that restfulness that I saw in them.” 

Anne-Marie talking

The charcoal on newsprint piece added to the overall diversity of the entire gallery with photography, traditional oil paintings and digital art. Even within Hagen's piece there was a demonstration of different styles. 

“I think to each their own," Hagen said. "You can take what you like from it. The kind of different styles between that you can do what you want with art. It doesn’t have to look super realistic, it can kinda be how you see the world which is actually art.”

People looking at gallery

The display of different styles somehow all centered around the theme of the human form by complete accident is something Martucci-Fink felt would be important for a gallery like this.

“Art is this universal way of communicating with people, it is a great way to show diversity and inclusion," Martucci-Fink said. "We have many different perspectives from many different artists. We have a female perspective, a psychological perspective, a queer perspective so it a very inclusive body of work which I am so thrilled about.”

Kately Towsley with picture

Kately Towsley was a finalist in the competition, with the help of her husband displaying his human form.

“This is my husband," Towsley said. "He was somewhat unwittingly coaxed into it. But essentially saw it, saw the linearity of the concrete path and thought ‘this would be a really good way to emphasize the body and concrete really references the human impact on landscape. So to put the human there was just to reiterate that.” 

Kately talking

While her piece was the only photograph used in the gallery, it was a still a kind of art in using a traditional large format 4x5 camera. 

 “It was hot, a little steamy under basically a blanket and it gave you a different experience, Towsley said. "We all take pictures on phones or a DSLR typically so to go analog is a really unique experience but to do it in such a traditional way and start thinking about how... (photographers) lunged this equipment out into fields or rural areas. There were so many photographers that had to do that for years because there was nothing else.”

Women gesture at painting

The gallery is displayed down in the student union basement and changes monthly. Exposure to art, Martucci-Fink feels will unite students in their common struggles and triumphs. 

“This time in our colleagues and peers lives it is very hard and difficult to navigate all these things," Martucci-Fink said. "I think a good way to, as cliche as it sounds, come together and navigate these feelings and concepts of identity.”