Students' oil paintings add color to Wikoff Gallery

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For most, it was their first time working in oil. But students in Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Laini Nemett’s Painting in Oil class delved deeply into understanding the centuries-old medium and learning how to manipulate it on canvas.

Painting still life, figures and interior/exterior spaces, they explored basic principles of design and color theory. Their efforts are visible in “Color Principle: Painting in Oil,” on view in the Wikoff Student Gallery at the Nott Memorial.

The artists include Steven Apolo ’18, Hein Htet Aung ’20, Ari Bennett ’18, Emily Dahlstrom ’18, Lauren Elder ’19, Jackie Feingold ’19, Emily Fiore ’18, Yi Ting Paung ’17, Josh Price ’18, Yuhe Zhou ’17 and Yuanqing Zhu ’17.

Looking at historical and contemporary artists as points of reference, this intro-level class exposes students to a range of painting principles focusing on color, including complementary contrast, local versus perceived color, temperature shifts of light and shadow on the human form, and contrasting light from interior and exterior spaces.

“Stylistic differences arose naturally as each artist spent more time with the medium,” Nemett said. “The exciting results of this exploration are as varied as the voices of those who painted them.”

The featured works on canvas are from an assignment based on the concept of collage in which the students were asked to portray space, both real and imagined, using this two-dimensional medium.

“The resulting artworks provide new perspectives and ways to configure space, unique to the frame of reference and frame of mind of the individual artist,” Nemett said.

For instance, Feingold’s illusionistic and surreal composition challenges an ingrained, physical deference for traditional perspectives.

Elder’s long, horizontal piece, “Escaping Oppression,” was created for a final project that focused on the concept of social consciousness.

The work “illustrates the emergence and hopeful resolution of anthropomorphized societal issues, such as sexism, racism and homophobia,” Elder said.

The exhibit runs through April 17.