By: Margaret Duff
This past Friday, the We Gallery in downtown Akron featured a very unique sort of art show. Erica Hoosic, a metalsmithing major from the U of A’s Myer’s School of Art, was presenting her senior show. Titled “Human Nature,” this show consisted of large jewelry art pieces that showed how we as humans relate to nature with our bodies.
Unlike most jewelry shows, where the pieces are displayed on shelves or podiums, Hoosic had actual models wearing her pieces. This helped to make sense of the exotic, beautifully bizarre pieces, which consisted of towering headdresses, enormous moss-covered necklaces, jewelry that illustrated the male and female genitalia, and even decorative armpit pieces. The work reflected grasses, mushrooms, flowers, stones, and other natural phenomena. Also featured in the show were the large photographs that she took of nude models wearing the pieces. These beautiful portraits, taken by Jessica Smolik, were almost pieces of art themselves, and allowed the visitors to slowly contemplate the works while the models actively showed how the piece are worn. Hoosic understood that with a topic so complex, both of these mediums of display were necessary.
Like most fine art majors, Hoosic has been planning this show for at least a year. The senior show is, more or less, one of the most important things that BFA students have to work through during their college career. While some U of A students have their senior shows in Cleveland, most choose to stay in Akron, showing in one of the many galleries. The We Gallery, located above Musica, is just one of the popular choices. Some show in on-campus galleries, like Sarah Murphy and Andrew Somosky’s collaborative “Easily Accessible” painting show (still on display in the Honors College.)
While these shows benefit the students, one thing that many do not realize is how much they add to the art scene of Akron, which sometimes (without the support of new faces and voices) seems like it is seriously dragging its feet. Hoosic, like many others, believes that student participation is the answer to this problem. “I feel like Akron has all of the ingredients for a strong art scene… but there is a lack of support through the community. If students organized art communities, attended shows, addressed local government about utilizing empty buildings, this whole city could be something really special.”
College students are undoubtedly the reason for a lot of the culture present in our city today; we make up a large percentage of the concertgoers, bar crawlers, and artists or attendees of gallery and museum exhibitions. It is even completely free for U of A students to visit the Akron Art Museum. Student participation can be as easy as visiting the opening reception of a friend (or even a show that you found an enticing advertisement for in the bathroom of Olin,) or taking an hour to see some of the world-famous pieces of art in the museum (free of charge!) You don’t need to be at the end of your BFA to start participating in what our students and city has to offer. Hoosic’s “Human Nature” show will be in the We Gallery through January 28th, and more shows are certainly to come throughout the semester.