Hurricane Sandy left destruction and devastation in its wake, but student artists have harnessed the storm’s after-effects and channelled them into works of art.
Gallery 102, the art department’s student-run exhibition space, located in Smith Hall, will host an art show featuring student works commemorating the resilience and perseverance that stemmed from the October storm.
“It was something that was proposed because of its relevancy,” said Travis Beauchene, president of Gallery 102 and a master’s in fine arts candidate. “We like to make this space a really diverse space, so we don’t want just paintings, we don’t want just sculptures. For this piece, it’s more of the humanistic qualities, and we really want stories.”
A committee of around 10 undergraduate and graduate students approved the show, titled “Sandy’s Stories,” for the exhibition. Beauchene added that the exhibit not only reflects upon the damages caused by the storm, but also the strength of the communities it afflicted – what he called “the triumph of the people.”
The showcase features the artwork of fine arts majors junior Christie Malvin and sophomore Crystal Ghantous, who each used their artistic talents – Malvin’s collage and Ghantous’ time-based art – to interpret the effects of the storm.
Malvin created two pieces, a collage and a manipulated photograph.
She said she was concerned about whether to focus solely on the devastation nationally, or branch out and depict the storm’s international impact. She put her worries aside and instead began working on a collage starring children’s books characters.
“I decided…to really reinterpret [the storm] and not use images from it whatsoever, and rather allude to it,” Malvin said, of her piece which focuses more on the themes of the storm than its physical aspects.
Her second piece is a large photograph in which she created what she calls a “false landscape through artificial means.” Unlike the collage, the photograph was not made specifically for the show.
“It includes a lot of different moving horizontal lines to emphasize a little bit of frenzy or anxiousness,” Malvin said.
Malvin added that the show is important because events like Sandy allow people to focus on the lasting impacts.
Ghantous’ piece is a woven sculpture-like installation that she constructed from round reed, a material commonly used to create woven baskets. Originally created for an assignment in a class about gravity, she calls the cylindrical work “The Parasite.”
She hung it in a small space outside Phillips Hall during the hurricane.
“It’s warped, like, a ton… It survived it so gracefully,” she said.
One artist documented a local art gallery that the hurricane affected, which will also be featured in the show.
“So many times, when bad things happen, we want to forget it and move on. But I think when that happens, we sort of forget the good that comes out of it,” Beauchene said.
The show debuts Jan. 20 will run until Feb. 1.