CLA art

by Ken Eisinger

Students visiting Johnston Hall for adviser appointments Thursday ended up with a different dilemma — casting votes for works of art.
A student art fair organized by the College of Liberal Arts Student Board continues today.
Artists, Johnston Hall administrators and students mingled in the hallway, examining the 24 pieces on display. Brightly colored paintings on easels and delicate sculptures on tables lined the first floor hallway.
“It’s a really good opportunity for them,” said Renee Richie, president of the board. “Some of the people have even offered to buy the work. It’s a good chance to show their creativity.”
This year’s fair has a new twist — it includes a competition. Contestants are vying for first, second and third place prizes totaling $175.
Ray Staffa, sophomore art major, said he does not take a competitive approach to the fair. Sharing his work gave him a reason to enter.
A class assignment, which required mixing myriad media to create abstract art, spawned his untitled painting. Staffa began by drawing his initials on the canvas and then filled in the pattern using acrylic crayon, ink and an acrylic medium called “interference.”
Viewers of the painting see different images in the soft colors and symmetric loops, he said. Interpretations include an old woman, an injured man and a clenched fist.
“I didn’t mean to come up with any of that,” Staffa said. “You, the viewer, come up with the image.”
Suzanne Bring, a graduate assistant in the dean’s office, took a break from work to view the fair. Bring pronounced the art fabulously creative and sophisticated.
An untitled charcoal drawing also caught Bring’s eye. The drawing shows a brooding figure at a desk with pages of a book swooping into the air and transforming into fish.
“I love the sense of thought, to be caught in a wave or a whirlwind. It’s beautiful,” Bring said.
Students visiting Johnston Hall for career or academic advice were faced with the dilemma of choosing just one painting to vote for.
Matt Lupkes, a computer science junior, visited the fair with a friend.
“I was on my way to visit OSLO and I saw there was art to be judged,” Lupkes said with a wry grin. “I’ve always been a connoisseur of the arts.”
Fair organizers said even though the fair is intended as an exhibit, but several attendees made offers to buy art. So far, none were sold.
The fair continues today. The board plans to and announce the winning works in the late afternoon.