The Niagara Artists Centre hosted the Visual Arts Club at Brock University’s third annual Juried Art Exhibition, Migration.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest events for the Visual Arts program, the gallery featured pieces of work from 20 students, ranging from first to fourth-year, chosen from over 40 submissions and juried by Professors Donna Akery and Kristin Patterson.
“All the works deserve attention. A lot of hard work went into them and it is evident in the works displayed,” said Patterson.
Migration—a fitting title for the exhibition—was inspired by the Brock’s Visual Arts Department’s upcoming move to the new performing arts centre in downtown St. Catharines.
Katie Mazi, Executive of the Visual Arts Club at Brock, explained that they wanted to address the program’s relocation and the subsequent changes that would soon transpire. They anticipate a transition that will positively affect the students and faculty, as well as strengthen the relationship with the local arts community.
The exhibition was exceptionally unique as it featured a single piece of work from each individual’s larger collections. The challenge of ensuring a balanced overall aesthetic using individual pieces compiled into one single gallery—an arduous task—was successfully achieved.
Kara Jongeling, an Art History student added, “There isn’t one piece that looks similar to the other. They each have their own distinct character, but it works”.
The students who curated the exhibition proved to be remarkably talented. There was a sense of fluidity among the works. They varied in different sizes and mediums that allowed the viewer to engage with and appreciate each piece.
“It was very exciting. I was really impressed with what the students are putting out; the use of materials they are using really stood out to us when struggling to decide which pieces to choose,” said Patterson.
“The students are pushing boundaries of traditional materials used in new ways and also making use of entirely new materials.”
When moving throughout the gallery, it was apparent that each piece communicated its own message, yet complimented the others around it simultaneously.
“I think it is really important that this event was student organized. They arranged the art in a manner that spoke for itself,” said Lauren Kozicki, one of the featured artists.
One particular piece that certainly drew attention was by Lauren Mucciraone.
“This was by far my favourite piece of the collection, every time I look at it I find something new and it is exciting,” said Mucciraone.
From Mucciraone’s series that addressed various gender tropes, specifically the concept of the ‘male gaze’, the audience is placed into the perspective of a male and subsequently sexualizes and objectifies the female in the image.
This image was of a nude female body with plastic eyes which gave the intimate image an added edge. It touches on several different issues in our culture: objectification of women, gender inequality, voyeurism, scopophilia and the sexualization of young girls. Undoubtedly a superlative piece; it was bold and demanded to be looked at.
Another outstanding work featured at the exhibition titled “War with Boko Haram” by Efe Osazuwa, was comprised of mixed mediums and was influenced by the Islamic terrorist group known as ‘Boko haram’.
Osazuwa explained that he had been working with computer parts and circuit boards for quite some time, so naturally it felt right to include it in the work. Furthermore, the use of white rabbit fur communicated purity to represent the country, and the red acrylic paint on the fur symbolized violence and bloodshed.
It was very inspirational to see the assortment of significant issues we face in our world today that influenced each individual work.