Oswego State’s art students voiced their interpretations of environmental issues in the Environmental Art Exhibit at Penfield Library for the month of April. More than 35 works were submitted to Deale Hutton, the Art librarian and curator for the exhibit. Though the artwork was originally meant to be juried, or selected by a committee, Hutton said that she had the space and adoration for each piece of artwork that came in.
"With the current expansive focus on being green, global warming, habitat destruction and preservation, I was curious about what would be created," Hutton said in a statement.
Overall, the display was a mix of different techniques that the artists used to create their artwork and to convey their environmental message. Photographs, oil paintings and digital media were all used in the exhibit, and this provided a sense of variety throughout the show. Furthermore, each artist had their own variation of the theme, which made each piece unique and intriguing in its own way. Through their artistic media, the passion of each artist on environmental concerns truly shined through.
In Amber Frazier’s digital print, entitled "Go Green," Frazier utilized a type of scare tactic to make the viewer contemplate the environment. Her piece is a nature scene divided in the middle by a road with a reindeer, fox and rabbit on the left side with a clean version of nature behind it. On the right side, however, the reindeer, fox and rabbit are dead, and everything is destroyed in the background. Frazier boldly wrote beneath this, "Otherwise, bad things will happen to our forest friends."
Other artists took a more subtle approach to displaying their message. Alex Martin, for example, submitted an artwork entitled "The Season Cycles," which was an oil painting on canvas. There are swirls of brilliant reds, yellows, oranges and greens surrounding an earth in the piece. Just outside the swirls lies the infinite universe. The swirls with the Earth at the middle resemble an eye shape. One interpretation could be that this symbolizes our need to see the beauty in the world and preserve it.
Likewise, Zoë Tuppen used the beauty of nature to convey the need to protect nature. In one of her photographs, "The Original Skyscraper," Tuppen captured two subtle moments in nature, and both were highlights of the exhibit. "The Original Skyscraper" portrays a huge cliff surrounded by branches of a vibrant green color. At the bottom of the cliff there is a small woman looking up in awe. The sarcastic title that the artist chose drove the message home in a way that is not overbearing to the viewer.
"Unlike many environmental displays, however, this exhibit does not solely focus on glorification or destruction of nature," Hutton said. Many of the artists chose to depict certain people in power who have had a negative effect on the environment.
The artwork on display catches the viewer’s eye in some way or other, which is essential for a library exhibit. Walking by these images truly sparks an image in the viewer’s mind about the realities of pollution and progress.
At the end of the exhibit the artists of the top two artworks will receive a $50 gift certificate to the College Book Store. There is a vote box near the display and the winners will be chosen before graduation.