The face is a ubiquitous visage expressing to the world our thoughts and feelings all while hiding our deepest secrets and desires. A face bears the story of our life and the mark of our ancestors; yet upon taking a closer look, the first impressions of a familiar face can become almost alien.
University students are taking a closer look at the human face in a new exhibit entitled "Faces" at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
"Faces," presents a collection of 18 works of art, which includes images by seven present and former students. Featuring acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings, the exhibit is an exploration of the human face from conventional portraiture to symbolic fantasy. The works can be seen as an untraditional look at a traditional subject.
"I just let them do what they want," said Sandria Hu, professor of art. Hu, who has taught at the university more than 30 years, developed the idea for the exhibit.
"I have always had the idea, I just kept the idea in my head until I got enough strong pieces that I wanted to show," Hu said.
Hu keeps an extensive record of all her past students and their artwork, reaching as far back as 20 years for some of the pieces exhibited.
The students explore very complex and abstract concepts. Erica Black, a former art student and one of the exhibiting artists, says she finds inspiration from internal "thoughts, feelings and ideas."
Her piece, "Thank You Mom," shows a woman holding a baby and looking down upon the infant.
"That one is supposed to be me," she said. "Basically finding the cold, hungry, wet, crying baby within myself and taking care of it."
One painting by artist Jeremy Barnett who, according to Sandria Hu, has developed somewhat of a following, depicts the thrill of an adrenaline rush. The portrait details the intense stare, bared teeth and tightened fist of a charged dirt bike rider.
Some of the more unusual pieces include one by artist Malcolm Mosis depicting a man ‘unzipping' his face. Another piece by Mosis shows a woman revealing the grim truth behind her mask, and a classic portrait by Skott Young becomes otherworldly with the use of bold colors and thick lines.
Many of the pieces are very personal expressions of the artist's thoughts and emotions; yet the exhibit has the extraordinary effect of having the viewer not only look into the veneer of the portraits, but also into oneself. Each person can identify with every theme represented and, in turn, an imitate connection with the faces is formed.
"I just want people to appreciate the artist's interpretation and what they are trying to express," Hu said.
Other artists included in the exhibition are Bervick Simon, Robert Hutson, Kevin Kaup and Saralene Tapley. The "Faces" exhibition can be seen through Sept. 15 on the second floor of Atrium I in the Bayou Building. For more information call, (281) 283-3446.
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