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Art exhibit opens

By Staff | Feb 10, 2012

MARTINSBURG – Last week, Shepherd University students prepared for the “Emerging Artists Exhibition,” which opened Thursday at The Arts Centre in downtown Martinsburg.

James Graeter, a senior painting major, will show a set of black and white acrylic paintings inspired by spontaneous moments in his own personal life.

“Each one has a story behind it,” said Graeter, who likes to make art that’s “intimate.”

For his work, Graeter said he hand-painted likenesses of old photographs and kept them intentionally small so that viewers are forced to get up close to see them.

“People are often afraid of art or getting too close. … I wanted to break the stereotype of what gallery art should be,” he said.

Senior photography and computer imagery majors Elissa Jerome and Annie Cropper worked Friday to install their collaborative piece.

According to Cropper, the piece, tiled “Phase II: Transitions in Nature,” is the second work in what will one day be a series of pieces centered on the transition of seasons and an interplay between natural elements and photo.

Jerome said that she and Cropper have attempted to merge together concepts each artist was interested in, including things like memory, gender balance and the female reproductive cycle, with the yearlong cycling of seasons. The finished work will incorporate between 250 and 300 images taken at the Virginia Arboretum nestled in approximately 180 strands of hanging Ginkgo limbs also collected there.

Jerome said the finished piece will resemble a womb made up of bare Ginkgo limbs that helps represent the winter season, memory and symbolize a phallic or masculine balance to the piece.

Cropper and Jerome said they look forward to seeing what spring’s natural offerings will provide their next phase.

“One professor told us installation work always evolves,” Cropper said.

Morgan Wisniewski, a senior painting and junior art education student, will explore her own artistic evolution with her art work, which includes two self-portraits and one classical portrait of a model. Wisniewski said that her third piece demonstrates the transformation she’s had as a painter, after spending a summer abroad studying art in Italy.

“I got to see 300 or 400 years of artwork,” she said of her trip.

Wisniewski said the experience showed her the historical prominence of women’s portraits in art, and she believes that she is carrying on a great traditional of art with her new work, which she described as “romanticized realism.”

The exhibition, featuring 11 students in total, will open with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at The Arts Centre located at 300 W. King St. in Martinsburg.

The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 29. For more information, contact Sonya Evanisko at sevanisk@shepherd.edu or The Arts Centre at 304-263-0224.