BEST OF CLASS: Troy student art on display at TroyFest

Published 4:00 am Saturday, April 28, 2018

When American rock producer Paul O’Neill was asked what the Trans-Siberian Orchestra was about, he said, “It’s about creating great art.” When asked to define what great art is, he said the purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art. “And, there are three categories of art – bad art, good art and great”

The Best of Troy University Student Exhibition is featured in the lower galleries of the Johnson Center for the Arts on East Walnut Street in downtown Troy.

The Dorothy Brantley, Jane Brantley, Chapman and Saunders galleries showcase a mélange of artwork by Troy University students that creates responses from the viewers.

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Although, the emotional responses to the artwork vary, Wiley White, JCA exhibition coordinator, has yet to hear anyone say anything but good and great art.

“How do you classify the Best of Troy University Student Exhibition? It is a mélange, a medley, a mixed bag. It’s a mixture. It’s potpourri,” White said, as she gestured first to the screen-printed shirts, then to the hanging string webs that give a false illusion of movement.

“The variety of the show is amazing,” she said. “Aaron Johnson, who hangs all of our shows, has done a masterful job of hanging this one. But then, he always does.”

White said the university students’ show was challenging to hang because pieces are exhibited on the walls, on the floor, on pedestals and hanging from the ceiling.”

“The show is unique in the way it is exhibited and in its variety. Every time I walk through, I see something that I haven’t noticed before,” White said, as she made her way around the hanging webs that Alex McLendon calls her “humble/bumble mess of me.”

The webs of string are different sizes and shapes and hang randomly from the ceiling, some catching light from the window and others hiding in the shadows.

For whatever reason, the artist said the art mobile reminders her of “Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music.’

Karvarus Moore turned the world upside down with his painting of “New Troy-Panama.”

“When the painting is hanging, the viewer sees and cityscape of Troy,” Moore said. “But, when you take the painting down and turn it upside down, it’s a seascape, of Panama City beach. It’s surreal.”
X Yu’s painting of what, at a distance appears to be a beautiful young girl, is not exactly what it appears to be.

“It is a beautiful young girl but it’s also a tiger,” White said. “You only see that when you move closer.”

Chloe Lyle’s beautiful colorful painting of a young woman is next to a pen and ink drawing of the same young woman.

“The contrast is very interesting but the beauty of the young woman is evident in both.”
Luke Carr used the musical staff, on which notes can be arranged to play beautiful music or arranged to make your heart beat like a drum, to illustrate scaling through of life.

Alex McLendon’s “Kats” was a journey back to childhood. The school drawing of a five-year-old was transformed at the hand of the, now university art student, into a Kat with an attitude.

“This is a great exhibition,” White said. “These university students are creative and extremely talented. “Everyone who has come through the door has been impressed by it, from the upside down city/beach painting to the ‘I’m Immature’ cardboard sculpture.”
Bill Hopper, JCA, executive director, echoed White’s excitement about the exhibition.

“What these Troy University art students are doing is unreal,” Hopper said. “Their talent is unreal, their imaginations and their creativity are unreal.”

Hopper said the university art students are looking at things in non-traditional ways. “They are expanding ideas and, the result, is new and exciting artwork. They are doing things that are so interesting and so amazing that it’s hard to believe they are so young.”

Hopper said TroyFest is a celebration of the arts and there’s no better time to visit the Johnson Center for the Arts than this weekend. The JCA features the TroyFest Student Art Competition exhibit upstairs in the Gibson, Kirk and Tile galleries and the Troy University exhibit in the lower gallery. The art center will be open during festival hours

The JCA will be closed to the public from April 30 until May 5 for the installation of the Ruth Walker and Gregg Skaggs exhibitions.

The JCA’s regular hours are from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and until 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.