REVIEW: Lots of student talent displayed at TAGGED

By Juliana Liévano Uribe
Staff Writer

The Art Gallery at the University of West Florida just opened a new exhibit called TAGGED that includes works of art by students from different majors as part of a juried competition.

It is evident when one walks through the gallery that the selection process of the art pieces was thorough.

“Catharsis” by Selina McKane is graphite on canvas paper. Photo by Juliana Liévano Uribe

Most of the works have a certain degree of complexity that you would expect to find in an artist who is practicing their profession in the real world; yet these are college students. In my opinion, it speaks highly of the university’s art department.

One of the most imposing pieces at the exhibit is “Catharsis” by Selina McKane, which used graphite on canvas paper. Highly detailed, it gives the viewer a sense of ancestry. It makes you think about your ancestors because it’s primitive and mystical in a way.

But more than that, it brings attention to women and their power. The woman sits in a circle surrounded by rocks, and there’s something up in the sky that looks like an eye, but it’s really an eclipse.

Eclipses are very powerful in mysticism, and many rituals take place during those times. It looks like the woman in the canvas is in a ritual. There’s a lot of emotion in this piece as well. It gives a feeling of melancholy, but also a sense of nurturing and empathy, because whatever she seems to be asking for, she really needs it, and as a viewer, you want to help her.

Jane Grace Hatcher’s installation, “Sanctuary,” which uses materials such as wire, fabric, burlap, yarn, chicken wire and fishing line, is incredible as well. A great number of things are going on in this piece. A lot of color, materials and detail is put into her work.

The installation itself, and the way it’s distributed, gives a feeling of being in a forest – and forests are, indeed, natural sanctuaries. The pieces fly, and there’s a movement to them, not only because of their shape, but because they’re hanging in the air and energy in the atmosphere moves them, which adds a magical element.

“Sanctuary” by Jane Grace Hatcher, utilizes wire, fabric, burlap, yarn, chicken wire and fishing line. Photo by Juliana Liévano Uribe

Those were my favorites, but I also found the digital photography composite by Christopher Mills stunning.

Throughout the exhibit, one fault was noticed: its organization. Not all the tags describing the works of art were easily found; I really had to look for some of them. But most importantly, the way the art is distributed throughout the gallery was not organized well.

Pamphlets made by graphic designers were mixed in with other works in a way that lacks harmony. It’s just like when you are listening to a playlist for your specific mood, and all of a sudden, an intruder song starts playing and disturbs the atmosphere. That’s how the art is set –there’s no harmony. A dedicated space for graphic design pieces would have worked better, instead of mixing it all with photography, painting and drawing.

Other than that, the exhibition is good. It seems they were highly selective when picking the works for the showcase, because it truly shows.

TAGGED runs through April 15, when a closing reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to public. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information visit: tag82uwf.wordpress.com