Bob Pruessner| Reporter
Visiting the art gallery here at East Central College is one of my favorite things to do when I find myself with spare time between classes, and the installations always leave me impressed. This recent exhibition was no exception. Over the past month, the art gallery has presented works from ECC alumni and the works shown were as varied, unique and charming as the artists themselves. At the reception on Feb. 14, I was able to meet some of them as they told me about the inspirations for their works, their experiences at ECC and the one of a kind methods they use to make art.
“To me, figures and flowers are two of the most beautiful things in the world,” Madeline Havelka said in front of her piece “Shattered”, a work showing a woman surrounded by darkness and shards of ice. “I’m a Christian, and creating art is sort of my way of giving tribute to God’s own creations, which always inspire me with their beauty.” Madeline creates many surprising visual effects on her expressionist paintings with creative use of a sponge brush, as well as unorthodox things such as bubble wrap and her own fingers.
Not far away, a deer stood proudly on a pedestal. Clutching the moon in his antlers like he owned the night, Katelynn McGuire explained how she made her sculpture “Moon Guardian”. “It’s a labor intensive process,” she said about making the woolen deer, “I have to matt the fibers with a barbed needle until it’s like felt cloth through a process called ‘filting’. It takes a few hundred hours to make something like this, and I worked on it for a couple of months.”
Across the room, what seemed like a hundred smiling faces stared at me. On closer look, they were printed over a photograph. Looking past the smiles, I recognized the photo from the 2017
riot in Charlottesville. On his work “This Just In”, which was printed on top of newsprint paper, Ryan Lucas told me that “We sometimes put a veil over all the problems surrounding us. Sometimes the truth is obscured, or we don’t want to hear it and go on with our lives pretending everything is fine. I wanted to reflect that kind of thing in a single image.”
The reception enjoyed many visitors throughout the night, including ECC president John Bauer, who enjoyed the variety of the exhibit. “It shows off our best programs,” he said. “I’ve visited the exhibit many times and something new catches my eye every time.”
On his favorite work, Dr. Bauer mentioned several pieces, and talked about “This Just in”. “It surprised me.” he said, “I like art that challenges today’s issues, and I really enjoy the message warning against ignoring issues. It’s always fun to have the alumni show, and this year was very evocative.”
If you would like to visit, the ECC Art Gallery can be found in room 121 of Hansen Hall and is open to students and the public from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. It is closed during all college breaks and school cancellations.
Starting on Feb. 27, the Art Gallery will be exhibiting Mia Cenelli’s “Home Again, Home Again”.