Life by means of art

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The Covington center at Radford University is still a fairly new addition to the campus. This fact is never more apparent than when you walk through the doors into the beautifully constructed lobby. On your right, toward the back of the lobby, is the entrance to the art museum. The walls here are always lined with alluring pieces of art of varying styles and themes. Currently on display is the Master of Fine Arts show, where students of whom are graduating in the program get to show off and potentially sell their best works of art.

For the most part, each wall of the exhibit is dedicated to one of the three featured artists. Upon entering the museum, the first wall you’ll meet contains the larger works of the artist Julie Hawk. Hawk’s work fits into more of an abstract style of painting, often consisting of aesthetically pleasing colors blending in and out of each other. These smooth color transitions are given a definition at the introduction of shapes, large and small, placed throughout each painting. These different shapes and themes allow the viewer to draw personal images from each painting without necessarily being told what it has to be.

On the next wall is artist Eric Beavers, Beavers’ work takes on a more defined style of realism through portraits of individual people. The details in his artwork beg to be analyzed closely, taking note to the humanism captured in each characteristic of his subjects. The skin that folds in the cheeks of a person who is smiling, the perched eyebrows that wrinkle the forehead of a woman studying an object. More than just portraits of a person, these paintings capture their subjects in situations that sometimes helps to better define them, whether it be mowing or fishing, it interestingly adds more of a narrative to a single image.

The vivid artwork of Jerry Frech occupies the third wall. Although these are portraits of individuals as well, they are in a far different style than that of fellow graduate student, Beavers. Frech’s portraits are often, though not exclusively, very close up and color themed paintings of individuals. What immediately draws you to Frech’s paintings are these black sequential lines that stretch across each portrait. It’s as though he wrapped his canvas in twine before painting anything and once he was satisfied with his painting he untied it, creating these unique and refreshing patterns. The black lines are often accented with stunning colors that add a certain weight to each painting. Frech’s unique twist on a traditional theme results in a refreshing body of work.

The last wall consists of smaller pieces of art by the featured artists. these pieces range from fascinating graphite drawings of different objects to beautifully textured collages.

One corner in particular consists of different collages by Hawk. “They are drawn on with pastels, highly textured paper, news print, journal entries, tissue paper, or just acrylic paints or oil based medium,” Hawk detailed, describing what specifically goes into making the different collages.

Like her larger works, these similarly consist of satisfying color pallets given definition through a change in texture or shape. Hawk remarks about the process for finding different materials to use in these collages, stating that she’s not opposed to scavenging around Radford’s campus for newspaper articles or magazines that strikes her interest, the holy grail of which being National Geographic articles, she chuckles a bit at her own fascination with the magazine, remarking how it tends to contain the striking colors that she strives for.

Aside from the engrossing dance colors and shapes that takes place in Hawk’s work, she remarks on how she tries to take note to how the textures of her work actually feel, saying “I appreciate when viewers come in and look and feel tempted to touch it.”

The Master of Fine Arts show will be on display inside the Covington Center until November 20th and is free for anyone to come and check out.