BY ANTHONY LENAMON
Tampa residents and UT students got a taste of artistic culture on March 17 at the R.K. Bailey Art Studio. As people gathered into the exhibit to feast their eyes on some of the UT’s students’ artwork, there was a noticeable faint hum of the crowd marveling over the new pieces. Artwork hung on the walls, were placed on pedestals and were suspended from the ceiling. An elaborate crime scene investigation laid out on the floor, which is entitled Death of a Crazy Art Student by Victoria Arnold, a junior transfer student and a graphic design major. She took the prize for best 3D work. Along with Arnold, other artists were awarded in different categories like Best Portrait to Best 2D work.
The award for Best 2D was given to junior visual arts major Jodi Minnis for her piece Paranoia.
“Social media is saturated with police brutality videos against people of color in the United States and as an outsider seeing all of these things on Facebook and Twitter, builds a trauma, but you get numb to it, but you also have to realize that at any moment, because I look like African Americans or any other black person who is an American, I could fall into the same situation if I’m not careful or if I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Minnis said. Her art consisted of pictures of palm trees, colorful flowers and oak trees on a TV screen and an audio recorded poem, both written and recorded by Minnis about Racism.
Another portrait included in the selection was Self by John Guarneri, who is a junior and a Fine Arts major, a piece that he said took him a month to complete. Guarneri also commented that it was his first attempt using oil paint. The painting was of the face of a young man, with tan skin, brown hair, dark brown eyes, that seemed to look directly at you, his face was covered in a brown beard. He is not smiling, nor does he look sad. He just looks peaceful.
National artist Julie Heffernan, who has an M.F.A. in Painting from Yale School of Art and is a Professor of Fine Arts at MontClair University in New Jersey, judged the exhibition Students artwork was judged based on four attributes: skill, creativity, imagination and ambition. Heffernan considered these to be crucial to winning in her standards.
As the night continued, more and more people came into the gallery and got to enjoy the magnificent artwork. Finally, one of the Blick Selects, which is the exhibitions version of an honorable mention, was a painting of wonderfully disturbing magnitude. It had such a deliciously frightening way about it, that it, for lack of better words, was breathtaking and it was entitled Scratched Away and it was by Samantha Gatelaro, who is a senior majoring in fine arts and Gatelaro said, “
“My inspiration For a lot of my work is based on emotions. The day the painting was created I was very upset due to a family issue and I found it therapeutic creating the physical application of my own psychosis. I have always found an interest in the study and application of psychology and feel that art causes me to have more self-awareness of the feelings I wish to emote but am unable to communicate.”
The Art Exhibition will be open through April 6.
Anthony Lenamon can be reached at email@example.com