Spring Student Art Exhibition Showcases Eclectic and Diverse Pieces

The Spring Student Art Exhibition will run through late April in the Cupples House, featuring work from students in the Ceramics, Computer Art, Drawing, Graphic Design, Fiber and Textiles, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Social Practice, and Sculpture courses in SLU’s studio art program. Jim Daniels, an artist and art educator based in STL, juried for this year’s Spring Student Art Exhibition at Saint Louis University. Daniels is no stranger to jurying art shows but found the selection process at SLU to be particularly challenging.

    “The abundance of strong work made the selection process extremely difficult,” Daniels said. “If your work was not included in this exhibition, do not be discouraged. I was impressed by the talent and ambition of each artist.”  Despite the relatively small size of SLU’s studio program, Daniels selected an impressive 50 some pieces out of nearly 130.    Daniels’ criteria for acceptance were guided by three main questions:

   1. Does the work demonstrate intellectual curiosity?

   2. Does the work show strong craftsmanship?

   3. Was the artist willing to take risks?

    When looking around at the pieces, Daniels found he was most intrigued by the pieces that appeared to be more than simply an assignment. The pieces chosen were ones where students evidently pushed boundaries rather than merely satisfying the requirements of an assignment and attempting to fulfill a grade.

    “All of the pieces in here show that students pushed their creative process or personal style or aesthetic,” Daniels said. “This is what is going to transcend into the work where it becomes more than just a project assignment.” 


“Deception’s Web” by Amari Moore

Even without written descriptions of intent or information about the original assignment, Daniels was able to identify the pieces with personal passion. Sophomore Amari Moore’s “Deception’s Web” was selected as the Honorable Mention for the show.  “Deception’s Web,” a ballpoint pen drawing, was created for an assignment based on doodling. To Moore, this piece was much more of a representation of the tattoo work she hopes to create in the future. After graduation, Moore plans to become a tattoo artist and get her apprenticeship.

“Brainsplosion” by Daniel Manganello

     “It’s especially exciting that this won for the honorable mention because that piece was specifically done in order to showcase what I want to bring into tattooing,” Moore said. “This is the style I hope to bring whenever I start to tattoo professionally, so this was especially reassuring to me.” 

    Daniels’ selection leaned into eclectic pieces that highlighted lively messages. His selection for Best in Show was a vibrantly colored oil painting titled “Brainsplosion” by Dani Manganello. The exhibition’s two-dimensional works showcase a diverse range of techniques within prints, paintings and drawings, showing no bias toward any one medium. In terms of sculpture pieces, the majority of chosen works were ceramic. Sustainability movements reflect a growing fascination with the practicality of ceramics, a trend that Daniels rejected in the show. Though appreciative of thrown forms and the utilitarian value of ceramic works, Daniels finds himself more attracted to the playful form rather than the practical. Every piece chosen was hand-built, with several serving as renditions of animals or characters.

  The students of SLU’s studio art program created a remarkable collection of pieces. Daniels curated a playful selection of pieces balanced by intentionality, technique and message fit for a spring show.

  Student’s art is on view in the McNamee Gallery on the lower level of the Cupples House from Apr. 14-28, Wednesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.