Andrew Epperson/ Mustang News

The Cal Poly University Art Gallery opened its Annual Juried Student Exhibition on April 14.

Students, professors, friends and art enthusiasts gathered on the ground floor of Walter F. Dexter (building 34) to see student works, which art and design senior Daniel Willardson said was set up strategically.

“We wanted it all to flow nicely and not just put all the photography pieces in one corner,” Willardson said. “Flow is important so people feel like they have a desire to go to every corner of the room.”

For this reason, all of the 3-D, 2-D, sculptures, paintings, graphic design and photography were spread throughout the gallery.

In total, 53 of 158 submissions were displayed.

Judges Nick Wilkinson of Left Field art gallery and Peter Ayer, President of Moshpit Digital, decided which pieces were put in the gallery.

While the judges did not follow specific parameters for selecting the pieces, Ayer said, “it has to give an impression with creativity but also have discipline and be presented well.”

One of the pieces includes the “Narcissus” portrait by art and design junior Arianna Cabebe.

“The style and concept are both routed in a Caravaggio painting called ‘Narcissus’ and its commentary on elevating our own image through social media,” Cabebe said.

“Narcissus” was not the only student art piece in the exhibit relating to social media. First-place recipient of the 3-D art award, art and design senior Charles Wilton, also incorporated the impact of social media in his five phone display of iPhones, titled “(dis)connect.”

Wilton said he chose to display his drawings on an iPhone screen to show the moments when he catches himself on his phone.

“I went to dinner with friends and saw everyone taking phone calls,” Wilton said about his inspiration for one of the displays.

Constructing each mock-iPhone from scratch himself, Wilton said it took him a lot of trial and error to get it right.

“I like to get those fine details and craft things; it’s details that make me feel accomplished,” he said.

Other student artists could relate.

“I had a lot of times when I’d look at something and my friends said ‘it looks good,’ but I felt there was just a little bit more trial and error to be done,” Willardson said.

It’s this strive to accomplish the best piece of art they can that drives the student artists.

“You just get into this flow where time doesn’t matter and nothing else matters but completing what you’re doing and making it the best you can,” said agricultural science freshman Sabrina Clark, who is considering changing her major to art and design.

Mechanical engineering senior Christopher San Nicolas had a similar perspective on the free state of mind art offers.

“Art is a good release,” he said. “It’s very different from stuff I do in normal classes and I think spatially and visually, so it’s the way I understand and express myself.”

San Nicolas said having his art featured in this exhibition is an honor too.

“Validation is the best reward,” he said. “I’m an art minor, not a major, so it’s nice even though I don’t fit the mold exactly, I still appreciate being recognized.”

Students enjoyed recognizing the projects of their fellow classmates as well.

“Seeing the collective work of all my peers is the most rewarding part,” Cabebe said.

Overall, the exhibit encompassed all of the trial and errors, perseverance and creativity of the students.

Even more than a showcase of hard work, the exhibit served as a place where viewers came to make sense of the meaning behind the tangible works.

According to Teri Sanders-Brown, adjunct professor for ceramics, there’s a difference between just looking at something and enjoying content and color and the deeper level of communication and expression it brings to the viewer.

To draw your own interpretations of these artists’ works, visit the University Art Gallery now until May 13.

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