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Students inspired by galleries

Hamilton, Ohio – Art reaches people in a variety of ways; every viewer reacts differently to what they see, even when it’s a similar group of people looking at the same work.

When Miami University art history professor Jennifer Pearson Yamashiro brought students from her Art 188 course - a historical survey of Western art - to review the FotoFocus exhibition The Land and That Which Lives on It/Unusual Character, that concept came vividly to life.

One goal of the course is to develop the tools necessary for analysis and appreciation of great works of art.

“Since we spend time in class looking at masterpieces, visiting the Fitton Center to view contemporary works challenges students to determine for themselves what is outstanding,” Yamashiro said.

Suffice it to say the students were impressed with what they saw in the Fitton galleries.

I expect that works of art nowadays are different, they push the boundaries and the rules that were previously set in stone by our ancestors and mentors,” said Mitchell Peery, an undeclared freshman. “I believe that seeing the work of art in person reassured me in my expectations. Many of the talented artists had such interesting ideas that inspire me to create more interesting compositions and artworks myself.”

Freshman small business management major Qinru "Cathy" Jiang noted how not only individual pieces of art affect viewers, but also how the entire show works together to tell a larger story.

“After witnessing art galleries on display, I became more aware that, in many cases, the curatorial team is also very important,” she said. “Through the interpretation of the works of art and the design of the external environment, the curatorial team can display the inner meaning that the artist wants to convey more concretely, and also better express the works themselves.”

Korean artist Sunjoo Lee’s work left freshman primary education major Emily Witters full of questions.

“Something about the figure of the girl being completely wrapped in paper on a completely black backdrop had me wanting to know more about the work,” she said. “Her model was her friend, wrapped in paper, maybe representing her friend being a gift, and the book could have represented knowledge.

“The piece left me with a sense of wonder because I have a few questions I was left to ponder. ‘Why did she cover the models eyes’ or ‘What was the true meaning of the book?’ Especially if the model's eyes were covered so she can't be reading it.”

Freshman nursing major Ashley Howard looked at Sandra Klein’s portrait Ah the Stars with a medical eye.

“This piece reminds me of maybe a brain surgery because you could still see the face of the person (externally) in the portrait, however you could also see in the brain,” she said. “As a nursing major I notice the anatomically correct aspects of this artwork before I do anything else, which is why art is so fascinating because we can all see the same thing so differently.

“I loved that from far away this piece looked like a head showing some parts of a brain, but close up this piece of artwork is so much more than that, you see all the details and the longer you look, the more you notice.”

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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