DePauw student artists present artwork at annual juried student exhibition

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Malcolm Mobutu-Smith (right center) talks with two-dimensional second prize winner, Kerrigan Clark (left center), about his work. DAVID KOBE / THE DEPAUW

DePauw students’ creative art was highlighted by Indiana University ceramics professor Malcolm Mobutu-Smith in the 2017 Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the Richard E. Peeler Art Center on February 2.

Malcolm Mobutu-Smith discusses his impressions of DePauw students creative ability. DAVID KOBE / THE DEPAUW

The exhibition is open to all DePauw students in studio art courses, allowing each student four submissions per year in 2D, 3D or 4D artwork. This year’s presentation held thirty-three pieces for juror Mobutu-Smith, Associate Professor of Ceramics and Director of Graduate Studies.

DePauw art studio and history faculty pick a new juror every year, choosing either professional artists, guest art faculty, or museum professionals. Each year the visiting juror creates their own criteria for the finalists, giving the students independent criticism separate from DePauw faculty.

Mobutu-Smith was impressed by the students’ ability to explore complex ideas and execute them well. “I’m really excited by the relationship of the discursive investigation and the sharpness of mind from the students,” said Mobutu-Smith.

First-place for 2D was awarded to senior studio art major Adam Rathbun for his “Judith Beheading Holofernes.” Rathbun is a veteran contributor to the juried exhibition as he has submitted artwork since his sophomore year and was a finalist in last year’s competition. With the vibrant colors on an extremely large canvas that dominates the wall, Rathbun's painting will surely grab one’s attention from the gallery's entrance.

“[My piece] ‘Judith’ and my work is about taking moments and putting them into modern context that isn’t bound by previous styles,” said Rathbun. “These juried exhibitions are great because it means my work is appreciated by someone respected in the art world.”

Third-place for 2D went to senior studio art major Mackenzie Sikora’s “Nothing Is Real.” Sikora’s mixed media piece emulates the relationship between authenticity and fakeness in the world, where ‘fake’ is painted in bold colors behind a thin wire sculpture of ‘real.’ “I called it “Nothing is Real” because the ‘fake’ part is crisp, clean…representing the insincerity of everyone,” said Sikora. “The ‘real’ part is crumbling with reality. It’s hard to remember what is real anymore.”

Other finalists include 2D second-place Kerrigan Clark’s “Untitled,” 3D first-place Mats Kline’s “Flow,” second-place Rhiley McIntyre’s “Untitled,” and third-place Amelia Warren’s “Love Me Not.” Top finalists in each category are given a monetary prize for their pieces.

Malcolm Mobutu-Smith (right center) talks with two-dimensional second prize winner, Kerrigan Clark (left center), about his work. DAVID KOBE / THE DEPAUW

The annual juried exhibition is a gateway into the realm of studio art on DePauw’s campus. Many students spend hours in Peeler mastering their skills and techniques, so the exhibition is one way to showcase their hard work. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit the various creative pieces, as the exhibition will be open to the community until March 1, 2017.