Aging, environmentalism, empty spaces, and the actual artistic process are all themes that are explored in this year’s Yeck College Artist Fellowship exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute. Four college undergrads were put through a strict juried process, and given the opportunity to show their works at the prestigious venue.
“Coordinating this program is both challenging and rewarding. It’s challenging to help them develop ideas, and exciting to see their dreams come to fruition,” said Mary Beth Whitley, associate educator for school/teacher services. “This exhibit is a delightful blend of sculpture and painting. The strengths of the show are the diverse use of materials, and the variety of styles and artistic themes.”
Aaryn N. Combs, Wright State University
“[This series] is a result of my interest in the negative spaces found in empty vessels,” said Combs. “The barren vessels, once filled with a variety of useful substances and materials, are emptied of their contents and cast aside as trash.
In Combs’ interpretation of this phenomena, four wood and resin sculptures feature the empty spaces as the dominant forms. The once-empty spaces have a new “Identity,” which is the title of the series.
James Kidd, Wright State University
Kidd is presenting three large-scale sculptures made from concrete, wood, and metal.
“All Fall Down” appears to show the downing of timber at the mercy of progress. Seven tree limbs/trunks form horizontal bars encased in a vertical concrete slab. The sculpture leaves eerie shadows on the wall. In “Symbiotic,” a once majestic tree trunk is filled with concrete oozing from long vertical crevices. “Flight” mimics a airplane, with a hollowed-out tree trunk as the body with concrete and rebar ‘wings.’
“My recent work explores the idea of creating a sense of oneness and unity by bringing together materials that otherwise do not naturally coexist,” stated Kidd. “I am often perplexed by humankind’s struggle to find a balance between its pursuit of progress and a sustainable relationship with the surrounding ecosystem on which it relies. Through the juxtaposition of urban, man-made materials and found natural elements, I attempt to convey the tensions of this conflict and the need for a strong mutual bond.”
Chloe McEldowney, University of Dayton
The sophistication of these six portraits was impressive, given the young age of the artist. She created four oil and charcoal portraits on wood and canvas, and the humanity and emotion in her subjects’ countenances was palpable. In addition, she was able to create the same effect using thread and acrylic on glass. “I Stood Face to Face With Me” is a continuous-line drawing that has depth in style as well as wonderful emotive qualities.
“Investigating the final years of someone’s life…the years of questioning personal impact on society, one’s purpose for living and one’s accomplishments…these are the angst-filled years prior to death that my work strives to examine,” stated McEldowney. “I treat the canvas as a communal confession of mistakes and of the desire for more time. The marks of my paint strokes are the diacritic symbols that punctuate the story of humanity’s quest for contentment and fulfillment.”
Abby Rose Maurer, University of Dayton
She created five oil on canvas abstracts, a melding of warm and cool hues that included lots of white space in the compositions.
“I actively search for ambiguous forms and contours that appeal to the human senses…often mixing large, fluid shapes with delicate, intimate contours,” stated Maurer. “I sometimes leave a large void of white space in the painting to highlight a specific moment in the creation process.”
The annual Yeck College Artist Fellowship is made possible through a Dorothy and Bill Yeck Education Endowment. The program offers four college art students the opportunity to prepare a body of work for this show. The undergrads also mentor twelve high school art students in the process.
“Through the Yeck Program, I have been given the chance to not only teach talented students, but also learn and grow as an artist through a positive and encouraging environment,” stated McEldowney. “I am exceedingly grateful for this unique and priceless opportunity.”
How to go
What: Yeck College Fellows Exhibit
Where: Dayton Art Institute Regional Gallery, 456 Belmonte Park N.
When: Continues through Aug. 18
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays
Cost: $8 suggested
More info: (937) 223-5277 or www.daytonartinstitute.org