‘Student Show 2015′ represents students’ vision

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Mercedes Hunter, 25, art illustration major (right), takes selfie of her art work with Melissa Mc Donalds, 22, art illustration major. Photo credit: Shontel Leake

El Camino consists of a diverse and unique community that encompasses the visions of many aspiring student artists.

And once a year, each spring semester, the artists of EC are given the opportunity to display their work in the Art Gallery’s “Student Show.”

To effectively capture EC’s uniqueness and attention, Director of the Art Gallery, Susanna Meiers assigned one of this year’s most outlandish works of student art to greet guests at the door with its huge, talon-wielding arms — Jacob Merkovsky’s “Owlbear.”

As the name of the piece suggests, the “Owlbear” is an exotic cross between the two animals. And with the sharp talons and fully rotating head of an owl attached to the massive body of a bear, Merkovsky’s life-sized “Owlbear” is, without a doubt, the ideal attention grabber.

“People who don’t originally come in (the Art Gallery) are walking down the hall, and they just can’t resist,” Susanna Meiers said.

And that’s just a tease of the other 154 pieces of art inside.

The Art Gallery’s “Student Show 2015” features artwork in a wide variety of media, including painting, drawing, digital media, design, ceramics, photography, jewelry and printmaking.

From well-shot photography, including Sean Matsuyama’s black-and-white photograph “Lucid Dream,” to pieces that are more bizarre in nature, like Merkovsky’s “Owlbear,” the “Student Show” is very much a collaborative work of art that captures the vision of EC’s artists on one canvas.

“A glimpse of each artist’s point of view,” was how Virginia Chavez, 21, sign language interpretation major, described the exhibit.

Displayed in the “Student Show,” Chavez’s untitled black-and-white photograph captures the solitary moment of a homeless man sleeping on a piece of dumped furniture.

Not going for a specific theme, Chavez originally wanted to shoot something inanimate but unintentionally captured abandonment in the process.

“Some people will think that the abandonment is within (the man) and some will think that the abandonment was in the furniture,” she said. “Whatever they think it is or whatever they feel is correct. It’s up for interpretation.”

Darilyn Rowan, photography professor, believes that providing questions and catalyzing discussion is what the Art Gallery is well-known for.

Rowan finds it important for students to have their own spaces outside the classroom where they can connect with other students and start a dialogue. “And I think that one of the important things the exhibit can do is to help students to ask questions,” she said.

Rowan, who chose all of the show’s 26 photographs, admires how it “highlights the enormous amount of talent” at EC.

“I was profoundly moved and impressed by the quality of craftsmanship, diversity of voices, use of various mediums and a sophisticated artistic vision of the many students,” she said.

The “Student Show” is undeniably as diverse as its student body, having a variety of art that offers something for everyone.

In its most basic intentions, the “Student Show 2015” gives EC students the chance to display their talents.

But the exhibit, and education in fine arts overall, does much more than that with success that transcends artistic exposure.

“I profoundly believe that arts education can transform people’s lives,” Darilyn Rowan said. “It gives them a voice, a way to express themselves in the world, to say ‘I am here.'”