Rowan’s Student Art Gallery exhibit showcases student growth and education

The exhibit featured artwork such as Kaylee Pachana's "Self Portrait" from 2020 and "Claimed" from 2021. - Contributing Photographer / Rianna Moses

Rowan’s Student Art Gallery launched its first showcase of the month with its BA Show Group #2. This time it included Rowan student artists Kierra Jones, Romana Lyu, Lynette Mariano, Aidana McCutheon, Kaylee Pachana, Shayla Rivera-Cazares, Shayne Shands, Sean Smith, Alexa Olt and Amanda Harvey. These artists created these pieces for a project, but for many of these artists, it was an opportunity to show off their talents. The reception, located in Westby Hall Room 207, began at 5 p.m. Many students and staff attended to admire the art of friends and family members.

“The show that is currently on is the BA major student show so it’s like part of our graduation requirements,” said Kaylee Pachana, Rowan’s Student Art Gallery assistant. “We have to have some work done from our time [in college]… so these works are supposed to be like more professional developments.” 

Lynette Mariano, a senior art major, spoke about the hopes of showcasing their art and what the main inspirations were behind their specific collection.

“I hope to gain more confidence, feedback and gallery experience as an artist, connect with other students and staff, and to make my family proud of my creativity,” Mariano said. “My main thematic inspirations came from my experiences living as a Southeast Asian American and observing the internet’s effects on one’s self-image, while visually I’ve been inspired by the young creative communities and contemporary artists online.” 

They also describe in their artist statement, displayed in every artist’s collection, that Mariano is influenced by many artists like Tyrus Wong’s concept art and Ten Yung Han’s drawings. 

Aidana McCutcheon, a senior art major with a minor in photography, explained the background of their collection, as well as how the Rowan art department has helped McCutcheon become an artist.

 “My work is centered around the idea of capturing the unseen and ignored, highlighting the harsh realities that we often choose to ignore,” McCutcheon said. “By exploring these often-difficult subjects through my lens, I aim to challenge viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and see the world in a different light.”  

“I have been exposed to many different ideas and perspectives which allow me to advance my own artistic voice,” McCutcheon continued. “I highly recommend reaching out to your professors and advisor for help to expand your knowledge and find what you are the most passionate about.”

McCutcheon’s collection shines a light on objects and people in society that are often overlooked or not appreciated enough. With this collection, they hope to inspire viewers to reflect on these photographs and grow empathy toward people and their struggles. 

Senior art major Shayla Rivera-Cazares gave her reasoning behind submitting these specific pieces for the gallery.

“I wanted to focus on transforming myself not only as an individual but as an artist as well,” said Rivera-Cazares. “The works go from photography to vector-based shapes and colors, almost as if they are transforming.” 

Romana Lyu, a senior fine arts major, discussed what the goals were for sharing the artwork they created at the student art gallery and how the Rowan art department has also helped them grow as an artist.

“Every time I made progress it let me go further and further on the journey of learning art. Although [the art pieces in the showcase] are not perfect, but let me feel very satisfied,” Lyu said. “I am very grateful to our school for giving me this opportunity to learn art, and I have learned a lot from it, such as how to make jewelry, graphic design, flowers and sculpture, etc… One of my most proud graduation works, bird’s nest, will be put on our campus to provide a safe and comfortable residence for the school birds and protect the ecological environment of the school.”

Romana Lyu’s art that was showcased was mostly all created in the winter of 2022, featuring a piece named “Home of WhoRU” that depicts a bird sitting on top of a birdhouse. 

These artists have all dedicated much of their time to creating pieces that mean a lot to them, and hopefully showcasing their art in a public area will allow them to gain more admirers. The student art gallery hosts galleries almost every week, and this month they are showcasing three more student exhibitions. 

To find out more information about these galleries, visit Rowan art department’s Instagram page.

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