McKendree Artists on a Varsity Level

Varsity Arts XVII Exhibition at Art St. Louis Gallery, March 8-28

Lebanon, Ill. — Two student artists from McKendree University will present their work at this year’s Varsity Arts XVII exhibition, March 8 to 28 at the Art St. Louis gallery, 555 Washington Ave. in St. Louis.

Kayla Morelan, a junior from Granite City, Ill., and Bomi Park, a sophomore from Trenton, Ill., have been chosen by the art department faculty to represent McKendree in the 17th annual multi-media exhibition. Run by Art St. Louis, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting young, emerging local artists, the event showcase students currently enrolled in one of the many undergraduate programs in the bi-state region.

McKendree art professor David Ottinger explained, “Students from community colleges to the premier institutions will be submitting their very best [work] to represent the school and the instructors. Each school picks its two artists that best represent the work created under the guidance of the individual instructors.”

Morelan has entered a mirror piece entitled "Broken Generation" that is in three sections, featuring a female figure painted with oils. “This piece represents challenged values of my generation,” she explained. “I chose to paint the pierced female figure in oils on a broken mirror. Because of the way oil paint slides on glass, it creates a smooth surface that interacts with the human form, adding to the sensuous, almost erotic, nature of the painting. The mirror acts as its own background and adapts to whatever environment in which it is installed. This allows viewers to become a part of the painting and now faced with their own issues of sensuality.”

“Kayla demonstrates a rare talent and a natural ability for painting the figure,” Ottinger said. “Kayla, like many young artists, loves to push the envelope. Many of the models she has chosen to paint have either piercings or tattoos, adding to the contemporary and threatening quality in her work.”

Park submitted two black and white photos entitled “ruined” and “windless”. “Art is something you see every day,” she said. “Nothing becomes something when you put meaning to it, and when something earns meaning, it becomes art. How your head is tilted, how tall you are, what time of day it is, and even your mood matters to the objects you look at. And that is what lets an individual have his or her own perspective; their stories make each of them special.”

“This quiet observer transforms otherwise unremarkable scenes into expressions of her innate aesthetic, inviting the viewer to indulge, for a moment, in an intimate space,” said McKendree assistant art professor Amy MacLennan. “Her indefatigable personality seems to have found a place for her fulgent and meditative side through arrangements in black and white.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. An opening reception will be held at Art Saint Louis on Friday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will remain on view through March 28.