COME SEE: Johnson Center exhibit draws university students downtown
Published 3:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2016
For many of the Troy University visual arts students who visited the Johnson Center for the Arts Wednesday, it was their first art gallery experience.
Paige Smith-Wyatt, Troy University adjunct professor of visual arts, said visiting the Johnson Center to view the artwork of two remarkable Alabama artists was a special opportunity for the students.
“Not only was this an opportunity to visit an art gallery, it was an opportunity to learn how to view art exhibits,” Smith-Wyatt said.
Artists Mary Ann Casey’s “Stories and Totems” and Bruce Phillip’s “A Different Perspective,” are the featured exhibits at the JCA.
Smith-Wyatt required that the students respond to the artwork and their responses were recorded on worksheets.
The questions posed to the students included which art they thought was most original, which took the most time to create and which was liked best and least.
“Responding to the artwork in writing required the students to really look at the artwork and think about it,” Smith-Wyatt said. “Medium is a word that we use often in class but, it takes on greater significance for the students when they read the labels next to the artwork. Without the worksheets, the students could have just walked through the exhibit without giving much thought to the artwork. Both of these exhibits are full of energy, different energy. And, I love them both.”
For Kate Byrne, a freshman from Fairhope, Casey’s exhibit was her favorite.
“I like both of the exhibits but I like especially like her subjects,” Byrne said. “I like the way she paints. It’s bold. She paints people and animals and abstracts.”
Byrne had a question of her own about the artwork.
“I really like that one (installation) ‘He lifts them,’” she said. “It’s probably very expensive. I wonder how much it would cost? Probably, $3,000.”
Brandon Li, also, liked both exhibits but his preference was Phillips’ “A Different Perspective.”
“I like the way the artist used photographs in his pieces,” Li said. “His perspective is amazing. He uses different topics in each piece but he combines them to make a whole. I like his work. It’s interesting. You have to look closely to understand it.”
The Johnson Center hosted a reception for Phillips Friday night and it was well attended by university students and faculty and the community.”
“It was a phenomenal experience meeting the community, the college students and professors,” Phillips said. “I got feedback from the college professors as well as from laypersons.”
The reception featured an outdoor venue, which Phillips said was more “earthy, more organic.”
“That made speaking to each other easy and we were able to engage more readily,” he
said. “People were interested in the way I use perspective and themes, especially those that focus on social commentary.”
Those who have not yet had a chance to view “A Different Perspective” and “Stories and Totems” or would like to see the exhibits again, are encouraged to take advantage of this last opportunity today and Friday and early on Saturday. JCA hours are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturday.