Art on Display at College Library

December 3rd, 2012

Artwork by UW-Madison students has recently been installed on the 2nd floor of College Library. Jennika Bastian, an undergraduate art student, and Jessica Ruiz, a graduate student in the School of Education, each have four paintings on display. Jennika’s pieces, noted for their emphatic, swirling lines and muted colors, often feature dream-like images. As she notes, “I am interested in creating a visual representation of the fragmented gap: between memories, scenes and states of consciousness, and the fleeting moment that this space closes and we come to a state of utter awareness.”

She has been influenced by the fact that at the age of six she discovered how to lucid dream (e.g., become aware within a dream that one is actually dreaming).  She goes on, “What I was really intrigued by, night after night, was the incomprehensible amount of detail one’s mind can create. It is moments like these, when one has those fleeting and aching realizations of how absolutely magnificently beautiful everything is, that we return to our child-like state of utter wonder.”  In her art she obtains “the majority of my inspiration from observing tiny details and imperfections.”

The work of Jessica Ruiz, on the other hand, is more informed by the theory of natural history which can be seen in her whimsical portraits of sheep.  As she notes, “I make paintings of animals by investigating the animal form and the painting medium as a depiction of loss, boundaries and diffusion. Animals are no longer experienced in human life as they once were in the past and this means there is no longer a natural order in human psychology. The natural order of human psychology is eclipsed by the technological advancement made in the past few centuries.”
As an archaeologist of painting styles, Jessica investigates the medium of painting “by meandering through styles of naive art, child art and expressionism.”  Because, as she points out, “These dead styles are the boundaries of formal painting problems and I am … discovering these boundaries and resuscitating the formal elements within each.”
Please stop by the 2nd floor center of College Library to view these provocative works.  In addition, several art pieces featured in the recent issue of Illumination: The Undergraduate Journal of Humanities are now on display in Open Book.

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