Mackenzie Coleman/The Daily Texan
People bustled throughout the small gallery space, weaving their way through sculptures, books and vases. The works of the exhibit intermingled, conveying the artists’ internal thoughts and vulnerability.
Good In Tensions, a one-day pop-up art exhibition featuring work from UT advanced print students, opened April 9 at the ICOSA Collective gallery. The show consisted of collected experimental prints exploring the topic of finding comfort during difficult times. The 16 advanced print seniors shared artwork reflecting their personal experiences with growth and tension and had the opportunity to showcase their work to an audience.
“(Some) students thought they would never show in a gallery,” advanced print professor Enrique Figueredo said. “They felt that gallery spaces were not for them. One of the most important things this (show) taught students was (that) there are places that want to uplift underrepresented (artists) and are for everybody.”
Studio art senior Quinn In’s artwork featured a floor-to-ceiling pojagi – a traditional Korean cloth used to wrap food or travel – made up of a collage of In’s digital self portraits. In the piece, In said she aimed to explore the intersectionality of different identities.
Throughout her college career, In said she developed a voice unique to her. She said her experience in the Advanced Print class helped her find her artistic vision and interests.
“I didn’t get to express vulnerability with my voice or in my art until I came to UT,” In said. “I was trying to get in touch with my queer identity, and it was hard to trust people from certain areas of my life. UT and (Figueredo’s) class let me be vulnerable.”
Studio art senior Elyse Garcia said art creates a space for creatives to bond through visual media, allowing them to communicate challenging ideas in the way best suited to them.
“Not everything can be put into words,” Garcia said. “Humans are much more complex than things that are rigidly defined, and art is important in that we can communicate ideas and tell stories in other ways.”
Thinking about past memories, Garcia created a narrative tapestry telling the story of when her family home was completely destroyed by lightning at age 14. Garcia’s work depicts a bright red lightning bolt striking a home. Over that, an eye of the same vibrant red showers the house in tears.
“It (was) a memory I’m translating from my impression when I was younger, and my ideas of this traumatic memory versus how I view it now,” Garcia said. “I can see the beautiful things that came out of it now that I’m older and have been distanced from that variance. (My art) was a personal accomplishment.”
Garcia said Good In Tensions validated the potential for her work and gave her a glimpse into what her future could look like.
“The career of an artist is applying to things, getting rejected and seeking out opportunities. Nothing is certain,” Garcia said. “Being able to have an official show at a gallery before we even graduate that we were super proud of — going through that process was amazing.”
Becca Gilbertson, a psychology and studio art senior, created Book Deconstructed Vol. 1, consisting of four lithographic prints on handmade paper as well as an additional holographic print, lithographed with a drawing of Becca with black liquid running down her face as she stands next to her skeleton and silhouette.
“When I saw my work up the first time I almost shed a tear,” Gilbertson said. “It was such an emotional experience seeing my work next to my peers’ work. It was beautiful but bittersweet since it was a one-night show.”