Art in View, Student Review

  • Tue Mar 1st, 2011 11:52pm
  • Life
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By Stephen E. Adams

 

Among the 15 to 20 students from Lopez Island School whose work will comprise Chimera Gallery’s first all-student art show this month are these four middle-schoolers.

One of whom has just, with great poise and courtesy, put this interviewer firmly in his place.

Upon being asked how long they have been interested in art, 7th grader Kari Aufderhar doesn’t skip a beat as she lobs the question right back at her interrogator: “Don’t all kids do art, right from the beginning?”

She continues. “And you know, when little kids first start doing art? I look at that and think they’re geniuses.”

Yep. Good point. As a matter of fact, that’s two very good points.

Joining Aufderhar is fellow 7th grader Mikayla Johnson and 8th graders Kiana Oya and Justin Taylor.

Johnson jumps in, concurring with Aufderhar. “I know I’ve always loved art ever since I was little. It’s my way to get things out, to show people what’s going on with me.”

As with any gathering of devoted artists, the variety of themes they are examining runs the gamut from Aufderhar’s fondness for humorous expression to Johnson’s observation that many viewers find her work sad, even depressing. 

Taylor is drawn to his surrounding landscapes, particularly the local waters and coastlines, while Oya works toward the creation of images in ways that are completely unique. 

Despite the laughter around the table, these artists are serious when it comes to the effort involved in the work they’re doing. 

Oya stresses that she invests a great deal of time and attention to her work, most of it spent “trying to make something that’s one of a kind, really original.”

Their work also provides them with a tangible journal of their growth, allowing them to see how their technique and style has changed as they themselves have been changing. 

They all note that they periodically take stock of their progress by looking back through previous work, even going as far back as coloring books from their early childhoods.

While art teacher Ethan Salter’s students’ works are displayed throughout Lopez Island School, the show at Chimera Gallery will be the first public exhibition for many of them.

Even though several of the artists here expressed some trepidation about having their pieces shown in such a public forum as the upcoming show, all agreed that they welcomed the opportunity to share their feelings and point of view with the larger community. 

“I really want to see how people react to my art,” Oya says.

“It’s easy for me to be down on my own work,” Johnson echoes, “so it’s good to get someone else’s opinion.”

The upcoming show, called “From Our Perspective,” seeks to make the entire Lopez community aware of the strong vein of talent running through its student artists, while at the same time publicizing the Chimera Gallery Art Scholarship.

The scholarship, which is funded by a raffle of work donated by local artists, requires interested students to submit samples of their work, as well as an essay in which they address the question of what art means to them. 

That art is immensely important to Aufderhar, Johnson, Oya, and Taylor is clear from the intensity of their paintings, each of which is an amplification on rough sketches or drawings taken from their sketchbooks. 

These paintings, along with more pieces from them and their colleagues can be seen at “From Our Perspective” when it opens.

The students’ show will run at Chimera Gallery from March 12 through April 9. An opening night reception will be held on Saturday, March 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. for the entire community.

Lopezians are encouraged to drop by during the reception to meet the artists and view their work. While it may be the first public showing for many of them, it is, given their talent and commitment to art, unlikely to be the last.