Inkjet print

“Untitled,” Archival inkjet print from film negative by Matthew McHan

McNeese State University is currently hosting the Spring 2021 Student Invitational Exhibition in the Mezzanine Gallery of the Shearman Fine Arts Annex. On display until April 15, the student invitational is the first in-person exhibit the Department of Visual Arts has been able to host since the onset of COVID-19 and social distancing orders last spring.

The exhibit features the work of 26 students representing works of painting, drawing, photography, print making, graphic design and sculpture. Lynn Reynolds, academic chair of visual arts, said 26 students were selected out of the 300 enrolled in a studio course.

“Their work was deemed outstanding and we decided it should featured,” he said. “They (faculty) wanted those works recognized where normally they might just be dismissed as a school project.”  

After grappling with a completely quarantined semester, virtual learning, catastrophic weather and the re-construction of portions of the art facilities on McNeese’s campus, Reynolds said the ongoing exhibit is a “welcome opportunity for faculty and students to finally get their work out beyond just a virtual platform.”

All of the work on display was created during the quarantined semester or after and in some ways the solitude aided the creative process,

Reynolds said. “When you make art, you being creative doesn’t just stop for a pandemic. In fact, it actually kind of accelerates...You’re able to work through a lot of things. You can’t control what the pandemic is doing but in the few hours you’re working in your studio, whether it’s drawing or painting, you can control

those things.”

Reynolds added that the students selected for the invitational are to be praised because “they were working essentially independent” due to the limitations of virtual learning and social distancing. “It’s the level of accomplishment they (faculty) were impressed by and the students’ dedication to the work they were impressed by.”

Participating students include Kat Bertrand, David Billodeau, Megan Boenig, Allyson Carpenter, Chelsee Collins, Matt Cooley, Diana Cruseturner, Jose Maria Ezejelue, Sarah Fontenot, Tyreona Frank, Libby George, Carli Guillory, Erik Jessen, Matthew Johnson, Kaitlyn Langley, Malloree Lavergne, Tabitha Leger, Taryn Louviere, Matthew McHan, Jocelyn Pena, Madison Poindexter, Sophie Qui, Susan Quibodeaux, Washington Opal Rowe, Madison Wyatt and Audie Soileau.

The Spring 2021 Student Invitational Exhibition is open free to the public. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-noon.

For more information, contact the McNeese Department of Visual Arts at 475-5060.

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