As another semester at Rutgers Prep has come and gone, we can turn our gaze to the similarly shifting revolving door that is our gallery space outside of the library. Pulling superb works from a variety of Prep’s multitude of talented artists in an equally expansive variety of media – from photographs to sculptures to architectural layouts – the space represents the diversity of ability found within Prep’s student body.
The most recent show to grace the Gallery Hall is the annual Black and White Show, focusing entirely on student works done with the limited black and white palette, and demonstrating the resourcefulness and inventiveness of the art students.
This year’s Drawing and Design students have taken to the show with a minimalist approach, emphasizing patterns and objects with heavy contrast and little to no intermediate tones between the stark black and white. Several of the pieces, including those of Lesley Xu ‘20, Macey Mento ‘20, Holly Qiu ‘20, Mason Llewellyn ‘19, and Devan Mehta ‘18 among others feature imagery of what seems to be a spinning wheel, tying largely into a cohesive class-wide theme.
Intermediate Artmaking students are working with limits of their own by using a much smaller canvas size. By putting such a large amount of detail into the small, square space they are given to work with, the Intermediate Artmaking students accentuate their own finesse and eyes for intricacy.
One striking piece from this collection is the work of Andrea Wang ‘18. The image of the deer expresses a clear duality between the work’s focus and background, with the deer itself having numerous light and complex brushstrokes and its surroundings being made of just a few heavy ones. While the animal seems real and grounded, the trees and mountains beside it are indistinct.
The Ceramics displays seem to relate less to one another than those of the other classes but still lend themselves heavily to the black and white theme of the gallery. One sculpture of note belongs to Jesse Cross ‘18. The work, currently occupying the display case, features a white eagle perched atop a black skull, demonstrates Jesse’s profound technical skill and eye for strong thematic elements.
For this show, the architecture students have been set upon two different media — indoors and outdoors — with Architecture II designing individual rooms and Architecture IV designing garden areas for the field outside of the Learning Commons. The rooms themselves appear to be small libraries, given the rows of bookcases; however, each and every one is a fresh take on the design.
Some evoke medievalesque style with corner towers or rounded brick architecture, while others reflect a more modernist approach with squared sides sectioned off into smaller, more “open-air” rooms. Harrison Meek ‘18 presents a “whimsical” layout that trades harsh angles and lines for freeform arcs and curves, complementing the more conventional structure of the Learning Commons.
Similar to the Intermediate Artmaking paintings, the Photography Ipictures attempt to capture scenes in a confined space to convey an idea. Many appear to capture daily life, such as Lucas Green’s, which portrays a quaint square of Prep, highlighting a corner of one of the playground ships over the backdrop of the Learning Commons.
Out of all the other classes, Photo II plays around with the black and white theme the most. The pieces themselves are made up of four images: one original black and white followed by three edits. By shifting tones and levels of saturation, the photographers almost give their images color, providing a much more varied palette from only black and white.
One such submission, by Jim Li ‘18 of shredded paper, exemplifies this process. By varying brightness and background, Jim finds a way to get rose color and yellow from monochrome.
The Photo V class has brought to the show a collection of pieces that embrace a polyptych style. The works show a series of four pictures together with each representing an important part of the student’s life, however, the images find a way to provide far more together than any of them could individually.
Sierra Drumbore ‘17 achieves this “greater than the sum” quality by contrasting images of a small town – board games and Christmas trees – with images of the coast – palm trees and the beach – and creating an overall mood of home.
If the Black and White Show is any indication of the breadth of artistic ability at Prep, the coming galleries will be sure to amaze. While there’s still time left, stop by and get a look at the talent for yourself.