Faculty selected outstanding work from thousands of student papers.
By Sarah F. Morgan
Students drew inspiration from symbolic pots, Latin American pop art, a street artist and a minimalist museum April 4 at the 19th annual Student Art History Symposium.
About 90 students attended the event in the visual arts center.
Fine arts Professor Debra Schafter called the symposium “a real celebration of outstanding work” in an interview March 27.
The symposium is a collection of slide presentations developed from instructor-nominated essays by students in survey arts courses, particularly ARTS 1303, Art History, and ARTS 1301, Art Appreciation, Schafter said.
The four students chosen to present were selected from thousands of papers, Schafter said.
Visual arts sophomore Amanda Graef presented “Vessels of Death: Spiritual Symbolism of Ancient Pottery.”
Her work was based on a connection she made between two pieces of pottery on display in the San Antonio Museum of Art, Schafter said.
Graef, an illustrator at The Ranger, connected a jar from ancient Japan to a pot from predynastic Egypt. Their similarities lay in their symbolism of the afterlife, Graef said.
The Japanese jar had traits resembling a snake, which were worshipped as deities.
The Egyptian pot had zig-zag symbolism representing the Nile River, which often was believed to be the bridge to the afterlife.
Visual arts sophomore Jameson Reid presented “Voice of the People: Pop Art in Latin America.”
His paper was developed during an internship with the exhibition “Art and Activism: Political Prints by Goya, Orozco and Shahn,” Schafter said.
Despite the popularity of American pop art, Latin American pop art has often been overlooked, Reid said.
Latin American pop art almost always has a political edge, he said.
Reid gave the example of Nicolás García Uriburu, an Argentinian artist who addressed the dangers of consumerism and pollution with his screen-prints of famous rivers dyed green such as “Venice in the Key of Green.”
Business sophomore Mariana Wachter presented “Breaking Down Walls with Banksy.”
Banksy is a world-renowned street artist known for his controversial statements and anonymity.
Wachter displayed quotes by Banksy such as, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable,” along with Banksy’s piece “Rage, the Flower Thrower.”
His art, which usually makes a political statement, is graffitied on buildings throughout Europe.
Wachter said it was fun to present in the symposium because it gave her the opportunity to inform people about the social and political issues Banksy represents in his art.
Some issues Banksy addresses in his art are homophobia and police brutality.
Computer science sophomore K. “Bear” Smith presented “To Marfa and Back: The Chinati Experience,” which tells the story of art he encountered while volunteering at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa.
The Chinati Foundation is a contemporary art museum founded in 1986 by American artist Donald Judd.
Smith spoke about Judd’s connection to various artworks and the museum as a whole.
Some pieces he connected with were the untitled light barriers by American artist Dan Flavin, which were fluorescent lights of pink, green, blue and yellow.
The museum is an experience, where the building and courtyard itself are works of art by various artists, Smith said.
“I was granted the unique opportunity to explore without feeling like an outsider. As a conservation volunteer, I felt like I was strangely part of the piece,” Smith said.
Smith volunteered at the Chinati Foundation one weekend in October.
For more information, call Schafter at 210-486-1042.