Earlier last month, the 2013 Student Art Exhibition opened in the art gallery in D271, replacing an earlier exhibit that held miniaturized versions of public art installations. The exhibit is an annual occurrence at Bellevue College, held at the end of every academic year, which is intended to exhibit the best student artwork from the art department to the wider college community.
While any art student can submit their artwork to the exhibition, the bar for actually getting a piece on display in the exhibit was quite high. “The pieces had to be of exceptional quality, and they had to be ready to hang in the gallery,” said Chad White, a photography instructor who manages the BC gallery. “The pieces are curated by the art department, and then are ultimately decided on and chosen by me.”
Despite the high expectations of quality demanded by the exhibit, the content that made it to display was staggering in its diversity in both medium and subject matter. Photographs, sculptures, paintings and drawings were all present, dealing with subjects ranging from studies of the unclothed human body, abstract shapes and forms and even an analysis of American gun culture. White was impressed by how far students have pushed the envelope this year. “I think this show takes a little bit more risks from the students that are putting them together,” he said. “There’s a bit more nudity, more graphic material, like a photographer that’s photographing guns in suburbia. Students are acknowledging risks and taking risks. It’s great; it’s very mature.”
Many pieces were distinctly memorable, such as an opened book with lipstick all over one of the pages, a sepia-toned illustration of a young woman and the aforementioned photographic series on guns in a suburban setting. White himself was particularly impressed by one student’s photography. “All the pieces set the bar for being exceptional,” said White. “Personally, with my personal preference in artwork, I like Rachel Horton’s piece because I really think it takes the most risks, and knowing her as a photo student, it’s been interesting seeing her development.”
Reception for the exhibit has been very positive and it marks a very exciting time for the art department in particular. For art students, it represents an opportunity to share their work with a broader audience. This also enabled teachers to see students showcase their abilities and put themselves out on the public stage. This was a rewarding experience for artists and teachers and an intriguing gallery for students and the Bellevue community.