University of South Carolina

54th annual student art exhibit now on display at McMaster Gallery


Each year for the past 54 years, the University's Department of Art has invited students to submit works in any media for an annual juried exhibition.

This year, 57 works created by undergraduate and graduate students were selected. The pieces range from photography to painting, from multimedia sculptural installations to video. The exhibit can be seen through March 27 at McMaster Gallery.

"There are many pieces in this year's student exhibition that compel me," said Thorne Compton, art department chair. "One of the pieces transforms file cards from the Cooper Library's old card file system into a unique work of art that makes us look at those brief references to the wisdom of the past in a completely new and powerful way. These artifacts from the pre-computer age have been given a new and vital life. There are many other pieces in the exhibit that are exciting, as well."

This year's exhibit judge is Jeanette Guinn, program director for the South Carolina Arts Commission. She selected the work of three students—senior Mallory Collins' "USC Library Card Catalog Book," graduate student Katie Venugopal's "Venugopal and Vasantha on Their Wedding Day," and undergraduate student Jordan Morris' untitled work—to receive awards.

Collins' hand-stitched picture book incorporates photographs and descriptions of buildings and plays with the idea of cataloging an entire university. When viewed from one direction the book features sepia-toned images of USC's Thomas Cooper Library; when viewed from the other direction it features images from all over campus.

Venugopal's painting depicts a young Indian couple on their wedding day. The bride is represented as feminine and soft, and the groom as strong and disciplined. Both seem to be optimistically looking towards the future together.

Morris, who earned first place among undergraduate students, does not limit his work to a certain theme or object. Instead, he wants viewers to come to their own conclusions. The normally two-dimensional pieces of paper turn into a three-dimensional object in Morris' hands. His aesthetically pleasing sphere creates a seemingly organic object, with individual details dissolving into Morris' larger fantasy.

The exhibit, its legacy, and the art students who have participated over the years will be celebrated March 18 with a reception.

"The goal of the event is to celebrate the work of our students past, present, and future, and to make the point that in this very difficult time for the arts in our country we need to invest in the future of our arts community," Compton said. "That future lies with the young artists who will create the next generation of work, start the galleries, run the museums, support the arts, and teach and mentor new generations of artists. We want to bring together our arts community and ask them to invest in our current and future students. We have invited our previous supporters as well as gallery owners, local artists, art teachers, students from the Governor's School, and many others who are a part of our current and future arts community to join us in celebrating the arts at this event."

For more information about the 54th Annual Student Art Exhibit, go to

By Web Communications

Posted: 03/16/10 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 08/09/11 @ 9:18 AM | Permalink