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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

“Rise Up”: An art gallery showcasing top talent on the hilltop

Magnolia Westfall / Hilltop Views
Daniel Mendoza looking at his and his peers’ artwork.

Every year, St. Edward’s University hosts a juried exhibition, showing artwork selected for a competitive process, for hilltoppers to get the chance to display their artwork. “Rise Up” is a body of work created by SEU art students, featuring many skills. The gallery included sculptures, paintings, photographs and even human hair. 

Sterling Allen was brought in as the blind juror to choose winners and take a look at how fine arts is done here on the hilltop. As an art professor at Texas State University, Allen had no preconceived notion of what the student’s work was going to look like or the mediums the artists might use. 

“I hadn’t been around the student body before so I didn’t know what to expect, and I went into it with eyes wide open,” Allen said.

The first place winner was senior Emma Thaman. Her’s piece titled “Tillandsia Recurvata” is an oil painting on canvas. The title means small ball moss, a common wiry plant that can be found all over Central Texas. Not surprisingly, the canvas was small as well, filled with dark hues and the wiry strands of the plant in the title.

“It was provocative, it offered up a space for me to think and wonder,” Allen said in regard to Thaman’s piece. 

Daniel Mendoza, sophomore, won second place with a piece titled “Petals of Armor”: a photography book showcasing colored pictures that feature human models as well as graphic design. The hard cover was even hand sewn by the artist. The binding was as impressive as the photography, which stood out to Allen. 

“You could tell the artist put a lot of research and work into the images as well as the book and the layout, design, technique and craftsmanship was all really well put together,” Allen said.

“Hidden” by Susan Perkins, senior, came in third place. In contrast to the other two winners, her simple black and white image on 4×5 film of a house was distinctive in its simplicity. 

“I submitted three images, but ‘Hidden’ was my favorite, mostly because of the quality of light and the contrast between the overgrowth and house draws the viewer into it,” Perkins said.

Allen explained his judging criteria as he reflected on her work.

“The top three winners all had some technical mastery,” he said. “[Winning] wasn’t about being the largest work or the most polished, but showcasing that the students had a certain level of mastery.”

“Rise Up” art gallery at St. Edward’s University.

Alison Rex, the gallery coordinator, was thrilled by the response and the educational value of the event. 

“This showcase gives artists a chance of practicing the steps of getting their work out into the world,” Rex said. 

She also mentioned the importance of getting students into the emotional practice of rejection or acceptance, which is part of an artist’s job description.

“I thought the work was a great representation of the art program at St. Ed’s, it was all really good and professional work.” Ryan Ward, a senior photography and arts major, said. 

Rex agreed with Ward’s point of view.

“The gallery is open to everyone, you don’t have to be a student, you can just come and hang out in the space and I especially encourage people to do so during this student show because it is some really impressive work,” she said.

This gallery will be exhibited until Feb. 15 in the Fine Arts building on campus and is open to the SEU community and the public.

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    AustinJan 30, 2024 at 12:16 pm

    Great read, gotta go check this out!