Every month, the gallery features new exhibits from artists all over the country. This month, the focus was on artists Raina Benoit, Barbara Penn and Kate Walker, as they showed Ground Game: Paintings On and Off The Wall.
To culminate the closing of the exhibit on Sept. 23, Penn and Walker visited the UMC art gallery to speak with the viewers.
The purpose of Ground Game was to play with the idea of formal composition in art. While most classical art depends heavily on the relationship between figure and plane, the artists said they wanted to create an exhibit that broke that traditional idea to give viewers a new way of looking at perspective.
“Ground Game pays tribute to one of the paramount concerns of the painting tradition—figure ground relationships,” the artists said in their proposal. “A positioning of being ‘outside’ looking ‘in’ provides a new and fresh perspective of our culture as a whole and sees painting as a means to capture the underlining feeling of this epoch.”
The exhibit also explored some deeper political themes, such as war, colonization and substance abuse.
To accomplish this, the three artists used several mediums to stir different emotions. Barbara Penn, one of the artists and a professor at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, used a subdued palette of whites, beiges and grays in her large paintings to create a powerful effect.
“I started out not being able to afford a large variety of paint colors, but now I prefer to use a small palette,” Penn said. “I think the colors provide a delicacy, while the bold images have a punch to them.”
Kate Walker, who teaches as an adjunct at Boise State University and as a professor at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in New Zealand, took a different approach to her art.
Walker’s wall figures are created out of multiple mediums—including her own personal clothing—and explore a multitude of subjects beyond the human form.
“These wall figures are not about figures, but more about personal states,” Walker said. “I was interested in surrealism and cultural states as well.”
Although Raina Benoit was unable to attend the event, her art installation still garnered a large amount of attention. Entitled “The Stain,” the professor at the University of Tampa sprawled a life-sized plush deer across the gallery floor. Behind the deer hung a painting of organs and other fertile images.
The gallery was free of charge and was attended by both students and residents of Boulder. Many students said the gallery was a refreshing escape from academics.
“As a science major, it’s cool to see the other side of the school,” said 21-year-old integrative physiology major Hannah Craven.
Although Ground Game is closed, the UMC Art Gallery will open again on Oct. 4 with a new exhibit. Everyone is encouraged to appreciate the art at the gallery, said gallery attendant Kerry Doran, a studio art/art history and anthropology major.
“I think a lot of people are intimidated when they see art galleries, but we want you to come in and ask questions,” Doran said.
As for the artists, they said they encourage all students to explore art.
“I always tell my students ‘you’re adults now, this is the time you have to voice your own opinion,’” Penn said. “Whether it’s in art or another voice, you need to find it.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Matt Glassett at Matthew.firstname.lastname@example.org.