Just steps away from the Palmer Museum of Art is Patterson Gallery in Patterson Building. Sure, maybe you’ve never visited it. Maybe you’ve never even heard of it. But next time you have some free time between classes, drop by for a quick look. The gallery shows Penn State student work on a weekly basis, allowing for a wealth of student work. This coming week, senior art student Anna Brewer opens CRUX, a pinnacle show of sorts.
The show, which includes paintings, drawings, sculptures and even “a surprise,” is the culmination or “crux” of Brewer’s work during her time at Penn State. The works stem from Brewer’s study abroad in Argentina, where she was fully immersed in an unfamiliar culture. She says the new experience made her feel as if she was exploding, and it inspired her to create pieces that are more colorful, vulgar and abstract.
CRUX is an exploration of gender, power, the body and sexuality. Don’t worry — for those of you not actively tapped into the language of art, Brewer does a good job of spelling out these concepts without being outright controversial. The work is suggestive without being obscene (although you may see a few penis-like objects thrown in — tastefully, of course). You’ll also see the body like you’ve never seen it before with body-part sculptures, paintings of unfamiliar, deformed people and images of exploding heads.
The show also touches on the process of Brewer’s work. Most of the time, Brewer starts her pieces without an exact final product in mind. This translates into pieces that incorporate Velcro body parts, an element that questions the actual final art product by allowing her to move them at will.
Even if you’re not that into art, CRUX is worth a visit. The pieces are interesting and coherent despite their potentially controversial subject matter. Even if you don’t know what you may experience, take a look. Brewer says she appreciates everybody’s input.
“I really just want people to go, look and respond. I want to know what people gather from the works,” she says.
CRUX runs from April 8 to 14 at Patterson Gallery across from the Palmer Museum of Art. The reception is held Wednesday, April 18 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Note: If you’re a student artist looking to display your own work, visit the Patterson Gallery website to apply for your own show.
Photo by Rhiannon Hedrick