Student Art Reception reveals artistic processes

By Audrey Bransfield

Continuing the annual tradition of showcasing students’ artistic processes, Arts Department Head John Norton and the other art teachers selected student artists to display their artwork at the Student Art Reception on January 17. To represent several artistic forms, the Arts Department choose students from ceramics, woodworking, printmaking, painting and drawing, design, and photography classes to speak about specific pieces that represented significant accomplishments.

“Every year, I love this program because it is a chance to hear what students have to say about the process of making their art and why they like it, fight with it sometimes, and end up learning about their own way of creating,” said Mr. Norton.

As the first Upper School art show of the year, the event included work that was produced in studios from September to January. According to Photography Teacher Parrish Dobson, this event serves to reveal dimensions of artwork that frequently go unnoticed.

“Too often, people only look at the final product of art and don’t recognize the amount of work, choices, decisions, and sometimes failures that precede the success of a final piece,” said Ms. Dobson. “People who come to [the Student Art Reception] always really appreciate [the event].”

The various student speakers offer many insights, according to Mr. Norton.

“The arts faculty usually choose students who have earned the opportunity to talk by committing to their work and also who have something to say,” he said.

Laura Ancona ’14, one of the seven student speakers, chose to exhibit her colored pencil drawing of the Taj Mahal because the creation of the image was a challenge that helped her realize what type of art she likes to produce.

“The Taj Mahal was a huge project and challenge for me, and I often got frustrated with the monotonous detail work,” she said. “[This process] made me realize that I didn’t want to do as much replication in my artwork anymore but instead be more original.”

Similarly, Briana Casey ’13, a film photography student, chose to share art pieces that had required her to take a risk.

“My landscape photo [in the exhibit] was taken with a cheap camera called a Holga, and you never really know what the pictures that come out of it are going to look like,” Brianna said.

According to photography student Annabel Smith ’15, this reception served both to unify different art classes and to empower students to present their own work and learn from that of others.

“I feel really appreciated, excited, and proud to show my artwork with the BB&N community. I believe that the opportunity to celebrate students’ artwork really brings BB&N together,” Annabel said.

Audrey Kirwan ’15, a student speaker from a painting and drawing class, agreed. “It was nice to get some recognition for the hard work I put into my drawings, especially since I’m passionate about art. I appreciate the opportunity I received to show my work to the BB&N community,” she said.

Audrey added that the reception not only exposed her to many different forms of art, but also made her realize value of the artistic process, whether it be painting a picture, developing a photograph, or creating other art.

“Seeing other people’s work and learning about their personal art processes helped me improve as an artist,” said Audrey.

According to Briana, the event was a success, in terms of both attendance and how much students and faculty learned from each other.

“Not only do I like having my own art exhibited, but I also really like being able to get other people’s art,” she said. “It’s cool to hear how the other pieces of art were thought of and created, [and] it’s definitely something I hope continues at BB&N.”

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