Campus art galleries offer creative outlet to students

Artist Cody Arnall has his work displayed through Sept. 28 in the Curris Center Gallery.
Brian Barron/Contributing photographer

Artist Cody Arnall has his work displayed through Sept. 28 in the Curris Center Gallery.

Murray State not only houses many student artists but it is also a wonderful outlet for aspiring artists who are eager to have more inside exposure.

New director of University galleries, Colin Nisbit has the job of finding different artists to feature in each gallery. The schedules are made a year in advance.

“The problem, though, is that you can’t burn any bridges,” he said. “All the artists I’m selecting for next year are friends or friends of friends so it gets a little complicated if you’re hard to get along with.”

Last Friday, three artists were featured in the two galleries on campus. The Clara M. Eagle Gallery, which is located in the Doyle Fine

Arts Center, featured the work of artist Benjamin Rogers and an exhibit called “Esther Randall: Sculptures and Prints,” by artist Esther Randall.

Rogers was at the event from 5-8 p.m. and began by talking about his work featured in “Into the World,” which also displays work from artist David Carpenter.

Rogers graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 with a M.F.A. in painting and is presently a professor at Northern Kentucky University.

Along with the artwork, there are also refreshments at gallery openings.

“There’s food and we have a party; there’s music,” Nesbit said. “It’s the only op you have to interact with the artist.”

It’s also a great place for students to get constructive criticism for their work from real artists who inspire them.

“It’s really important in the art world to have to be nice to everybody,” Nisbit said. “It’s not this bitter jerky thing that everyone thinks it can be.”

Although Rogers’ work was in the gallery last week only, there are still artists featured in both galleries on campus.

In the Clara M. Eagle Gallery, artist Esther Randall will feature her exhibition, “Esther Randall: Sculptures and Prints,” which displays figures in bronze and welded steel. The figurines will be on display until Sept. 28. Fossilized parts such as teeth and bones inspired Randall’s work.

The exhibit will also include a series of digital landscape prints Randall calls “sCapes.” She does these digital prints by studying the images of the grounds left over in the bottom of an empty coffee mug.

Randall has been praised many times for her work and received the Kentucky Foundation for Women grant in 2007. She is currently the art director at the Giles Gallery located at Eastern Kentucky University.

Another gallery on campus is the Curris Center Gallery, which currently holds an exhibit by artist Cody Arnall called, “An Unlevel Level: An Exhibition of Recent Sculptures and Drawings.” This gallery will house his work also through Sept. 28.

Arnall said he likes to construct his work with the materials which are around him and readily available.

Arnall graduated from Louisiana State University and has had exhibits in places near and far from home, going as far as Ireland.

The art department also has several artists coming up. Their next event will be the Art Hop, organized by the Murray Art Guild, which features work from from various artists at the Global Materix III, an International Print Exhibition.

The work in this show will feature artists from all over the world.

All of these exhibits are opportunities for students to make connections. Nesbit said networking is important in the art industry.

“Since we’re a little isolated here it’s hard for art students to meet people and make connections,” Nesbit said. “So to be able to meet artists and get to know them is one of the few opportunities they’re going to have.”

Story by Savannah Sawyer, Assistant Features Editor.