By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–IU Southeast upper-level drawing and painting students helped kick off the October “Logan Under Lights” art walk in Louisville, Kentucky.
The students are exhibiting their work at the Logan Street Market Gallery, and the reception was the spotlight event for the walk.
Logan Under Lights is a monthly celebration of art, music and community-building during which participating businesses along Logan Street open their doors in a night market setting. The event showcases the surrounding Shelby Park neighborhood, a historic Louisville district navigating a path to revitalization.
Fourteen students are showing new works created in their IU Southeast upper-level painting and drawing courses: Garrett Besinger, Olivia Currell, John Day, Chloe Fellows, Fab Islas Bell, Quest Lawrence, Griffin Morris, Devan McDowell, Adam Neal, Payton Sarno, Shane Sartell, Anastasia Summers, Liliana Velasco, Cecilia Winters.
The exhibition runs through October 31.
For the artists, the show marks a welcome return to showing their work in public.
“The pandemic significantly limited on-campus exhibition opportunities for students for well over a year, with no annual student juried exhibitions, no in-person thesis shows, no Space Lab shows,” said Emily Sheehan, associate professor of fine arts (drawing). “Painting Professor Debra Clem and my first priority when planning this term was to secure a professional exhibition opportunity for the truly exceptional group of upper-level students in our drawing and painting classes.”
The pandemic was far more than an obstacle to displaying drawings and paintings. It affected the students in a variety of ways.
For some, the pandemic was a chance to hone technique and find their individual voice. For others, it was more problematic, an unwelcome period of isolation during which they abandoned creative activity altogether.
Garrett Bessinger was working on a large volume of art to finish his degree. He spent so much time at the keyboard that he developed a repetitive motion injury. As a result, he turned to digital drawing, which was easier on the wrist.
“It has helped me diversify in the world we live in now,” Bessinger said. “There are so many tools for digital work and it has helped me work on expanding my skills with those tools.”
The pandemic set Quest Lawrence on a journey of self-discovery. Laid off from their job at GE, they decided to realize their long-held dream and study art., enrolling at IU Southeast. It was a real leap into the unknown, and one of many transformations in their life wrought by these unusual circumstances. This is expressed in Lawrence’s art, and in their relationship to it.
“It has become very personal, whereas before I don’t think I was making art about me for me, it was more of a hobby,” Lawrence said. ” it’s a part of me because I’ve had such a long time during the pandemic to internalize and think.”
Cecilia Winters credits the creative community at IU Southeast with helping her overcome the isolation and move forward.
“Because I couldn’t go out and experience galleries and get that experience from outside, it was my friends and peers, fellow students, and professors encouraged me to keep going,” Winters said. “To see their work inspired me, and got me through the hard times.”
Sheehan sees the Logan Street Live experience as a successful return to exhibiting student work, moving beyond the campus to expose the community more fully to the quality of art being made at IU Southeast.
“Fine Arts faculty developed many creative, online alternatives to allow our curriculum to continue to nurture professional development and share student works,” Sheehan said.
Homepage photo: Painting (detail) by Devan McDowell.