Art is an outward expression of the soul, either the artist’s or the subject’s. University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) student artwork is now on view in the O’Kane Gallery through May 3. For more than two decades, UHD has annually showcased selected works by students featuring everything from painting and photography to costume design and digital art.
“The UHD Student Exhibition always provides a great opportunity to see some skillful and creative work,” said Mark Cervenka, director of the O’Kane Gallery and associate professor of Art. “I especially enjoy how the art can act as window into the variety of concerns that motivate our students.”
For most of the artists, this is the first time for them to have their work in an exhibition. To be on the same walls after the previous exhibition, Floyd Newsum: A Survey 1970-2018, was an honor.
“It shows that the faculty and staff really care,” student Tim Solis said. “For them to go to such lengths to get this work out there for the student body and visitors goes to show the amount of effort that staff like Professor Cervenka are putting into really cultivating and supporting the talent.”
In the upper level art course, “Studio Processes and Portfolio,” students spent the semester creating and putting together a portfolio based on certain themes. Student, Chelsea Markaray (pictured), who focused on the themes, ‘Day of the Dead,’ and African influenced drawings and paintings said, “I’ve always had a balance of professors who gave me the freedom to paint whatever I wanted, but with their guidance. I’ve also had professors who exercised more control over what I created and really helped me with my technique, which was nice.”
Students who took Professor Newsum’s “Painting I” last semester had a self-portrait project in which they painted themselves in their own vision. It was meaningful for some because they were also dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey throughout the semester.
“Painting is like therapy for me; especially as I was going through Harvey,” student Bendy Rios Lazo said. “I was able to put that into my work.”
UHD’s dedication to molding and showcasing its art students’ talent can be seen in this yearly exhibition and the recently added student art tours.
O’Kane Gallery hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday–Friday and noon – 5 p.m. on Saturday.