By Julianne Gee & Hanalei Potempa
The winning submissions for the 2022 Annual Student Juried Exhibition are on display at the Blue Galleries, located on the first floor of the Center for Visual Arts, until March 30. The chosen juror, artist Crystal Z. Campbell, awarded five student artists with distinction.
Gia Strang, a visual arts major with a focus in sculpture, received second place recognition in the Blue Galleries Exhibition for her bronze sculpture “The Sound Of Touch.”
Strang was inspired by Japanese ceramic sculptor Toru Kurokawa, who is known for the use of negative space in his sculptures.
Strang was also inspired by the look and feel of slot canyons.
“They have these smooth, grooved interiors that make you want to touch them and walk through them and be able to venture through it,” Strang said. “I think that this piece kind of has that similar feel to it … because there are lots of nooks and crannies and interesting forms, so it never looks the same from any particular direction.”
Strang began her piece by creating the original form in clay. She then did a 3D scan of the mold and printed it in wax to melt the original form and fill it with bronze.
When the printing occurred, Strang shared that her figure came out with a texture that looks and feels like actual fingerprints. She was completely surprised by this texture after it was finally poured and broken apart.
The name of the piece, “The Sound of Touch,” illustrates an interesting juxtaposition. When asked about the name Strang said, “The piece was about texture, but yet, it has an unexpected element of being able to hear it.”
Strang revealed that she was both excited and humbled by the opportunity to be included in the Blue Galleries exhibit because of the level of talent demonstrated by her fellow artists and student peers.
“As an artist, we always want validation in our work because sometimes our work really only resonates with us, and we hope that it resonates with someone else, so when it does, it’s an excitement and a huge validation,” Strang said.
Jose “Gio” Herrera, an art history and visual arts double major, received first place recognition for the digital prints of a video still titled “RUN.” Herrera also submitted a video titled “_Embrace.”
“The thing I’m most interested in is exploring signifiers and their signified,” Herrera said.
Herrera mentioned being inspired by French literary critic and semiotician Roland Barthes.
However, Herrera also said he didn’t want the pieces to be “didactic,” meaning he didn’t want to show an ulterior motive or moral edict in the pieces.
“What I try to practice in both my video and my photography work is stripping a lot [away] and being very conscious and aware of any potential things that I present to the viewer,” Herrera said.
Herrera spoke of titling the winning artwork “RUN” through a conversation with a friend. The friend expressed concern for the title, to which Herrera replied by saying he wanted something that could be interpreted politically.
“With the video, there was a particular idea that I got, and I wanted to explore that. That being said, I don’t have an artist statement referencing that idea, simply because I don’t want to have the view be limited by my interpretation of it,” Herrera said.
This exploratory process is common for Herrera when making art.
“With all my artwork, I simply do them because I want to get things out of my head … I gotta materialize them,” Herrera said.
According to gallery director Kristen Furlong, artworks are chosen based on criteria from the juror without other conditions like grades or experience level.
“Thank you so much for sharing your work with me, and with all of us … In moments of critical social change, you’ve reminded me of how much art can be a record, a tool, a respite, a strategy, and a form of resistance,” juror Campbell said in a message to the students.
The Blue Galleries is open from Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Per university policy, masks are required.
For more information, visit the Blue Galleries webpage on the Boise State website.