‘Untold Stories’ exhibit conveys genuine and honest art pieces

The Channels Art Pages | STAFF REVIEW

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‘Untold Stories’ exhibit conveys genuine and honest art pieces

Courtesy art of 'Gate Keeper' Photograph by Megan Lee.

Courtesy art of 'Gate Keeper' Photograph by Megan Lee.

Courtesy art of 'Gate Keeper' Photograph by Megan Lee.

Courtesy art of 'Gate Keeper' Photograph by Megan Lee.

ZURI SMITH, Channels Staff

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When I think of untold stories, I think of secrets, those adventures whispered into a friend’s ear at a sleepover, the fictional tales told sloppily over beers with best friends.

Untold stories are the parts of history not told to anyone until, well, they are.

Upon arriving at the “Untold Stories” exhibition, I couldn’t help but notice how small it was. At first, that puzzled me. But as I went through the pieces of art, the writing pieces, the photographs, I learned why.

Every piece bled honesty. Genuine, heart-wrenching honesty that made the viewer take a minute and reflect on their own experiences.

There were a few pieces that captured my interest entirely.

The first was a screen print image titled “Not your gym buddy.”

The drawing was of two naked men, kissing. One of the men was pink and the other was blue. The pink man was holding a blue weight.

The picture itself was unmistakably erotic and would have captured the attention of anyone in the room. But it was the story that went with it that made me stop and think about my own life and the experiences of myself and others.

The short story details the hesitation and fears of a gay man sharing memories with his lover.

This entire piece resonated with me because of its honesty. The drawing and the writing were both so overwhelmingly vulnerable that I couldn’t help but feel something that I thought I couldn’t.

You don’t have to be gay to relate or feel something about it, but if you are, it especially strikes deep. It was vulnerable and unapologetic. That’s something that nothing but experience and passion can teach.

My other favorite piece was a photograph titled “Southern California Cowgirl.” The picture is of an older woman in typical cowgirl attire. Her jacket is a soft brown and her shirt is a bright red.

Not only is the picture aesthetically pleasing to look at, but the woman in the photograph grabs the audience’s attention immediately.

My friend pointed out that despite her age, there’s something about her that looked young. And it was true. Maybe it was the piercing blue of her eyes or maybe it was the smirk on her lips, but everything about her exuded youth.

I don’t know anything about photography, but it seems to me that one of the challenges of being a photographer would be capturing a look or moment that your subject is having.

And this woman, the subject, was having a moment, and the photographer captured that beautifully.

Courtesy image of 'Life Pinball' Ceramic sculpture by Jia Chuin Lily Jones.

Courtesy image of ‘Life Pinball’ Ceramic sculpture by Jia Chuin Lily Jones.

My last favorite piece was a mock pinball set up. In the middle was a face of what looked like an elderly woman. All around her were phrases like: “Who are you?”

“She fell again.”

“And again.”

“I will remember you.”

Because of the confusion of the quotes, the piece were either about someone’s decline of mental health, or aging and losing memory. But even if both of my interpretations are wrong, the piece was obviously vulnerable.

It took one of the scariest things that we deal with as human beings and put it on display.

Each of these pieces managed to do the one thing that many artists strive for: to convey absolute and uncompromising honesty. The artists weren’t afraid to be soft and vulnerable in their work. Even though all of the pieces were different in content and work, they all achieved the same goal.

That’s the only way to tell an untold story.

“Untold Stories” is curated by Atkinson Gallery intern Emily Corb and is on display at the Communication Lab in the Business Communication Building Room 102. The exhibition is on display from April 25 to 28.

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