Artwork by North Canton Hoover High School Art Students
North Canton Little Art Gallery
Through Feb 2nd
Only a few days left to stop by the library to see this show, but worth it! I enjoy this type of display immensely for several reasons. First, I am a former high school art teacher (year 23 of maternity leave and counting…) so I like to see what projects and skills are still being taught today. Second, having a variety of works hung together representing the results of one assignment allows me to compare the pieces to see different thought processes. And finally, this is not show piece stuff, not the “create for the event” work like one finds in Scholastic competition. These pieces are art from the classroom as classroom assignments, not “special” projects done to win an award.
All the pieces have labels with titles (BRAVO!!), both the student and teachers’ names, the grade level and the media. What I would have liked to have also known is the “class” in which the piece was done. I am unfamiliar with Hoover’s course descriptions so it would have been helpful to know if the assignments were from “art 1” or “art 4”, or “painting 2” or “design 3” and so forth, just some type of context. The individual pieces are neither signed nor dated on the works which might be something new for the sake of competition or portfolio requirements but that would be a nice thing to require when at all possible. How and where to place a signature is important to learn when it can affect a composition.
So happy to see that basic drawing is still a contender. Several large pencil drawings of shirt fabrics challenged the students to render the shadows and highlights of folded material. I used an American flag back in my day for the same project so it is good to know that classical pencil rendering and observational skills are still valued.
Also in the category of classics are the linoleum (or woodcut) prints used not only for printmaking but with the added consideration of pattern as composition and use of color for focal point. In the overview pass by portion of my visit, I noticed the future careers of some of these young people. A girl who may become a tattoo artist, a future illustrator and perhaps even a textile designer or two. The project which is most intriguing to me are the Zen-tangles...obviously a new thing or I would have stolen that idea a long time ago. Two methods of rendering and resolving are on display. One method are the square format all black and white (okay, a hint of color now and then) layered pieces which are quite complex. The students seem to have been challenged to consider the patterns and their placement to best complement each other so as not to overwhelm the eye. Scale and density of pattern are extremely important factors and then a twist was added (like that reference to reality tv?) in having to consider the negative spaces. I want to be in that class! The other method was presented in a rectangular format with the addition of brown backgrounds and jewels. This was the project that took it to the next level, a common assignment to take what you have learned and make it better by making it harder with the addition of more elements to consider. It is hard to pick out one or two standouts as they were all fantastic.
Some pieces and artists do merit a specific mention. If I had to pick a best in show, it would go to Shelby Crownoble, grade 12, for “Sun God” located in the smaller showcase. This mixed media piece of layered surfaces is stunning in its sophistication of composition and color choices. The Don Drumm-ish Aztec sun is not your typical plop in the middle format, this piece appears to move and swirl with power because of the offset and angled placement of the elements. Second place would be a tie but the same artist wins both, Hannah Helaney, grade 12 with both a silk scarf textile piece entitled “Barking up the wrong tree” and a mixed media drawing entitled “Environmental Impact”. Trees must be her motif of choice and she has a certain style to this theme evident in both works. I found her skills to also be quite refined and concepts to be thought provoking. Third place goes to Tim Konowal, grade 12, for “Ghourds” which is how I copied it in my book and how I do believe it was spelled on the tag. One of us wrong or it is an intentional misspelling which is possible considering this piece may have a reference so ghost imagery. It is also a mixed media work that breaks down the media by sections so he must render the subject using four different techniques individually. This too is a classic assignment but one that should always be required so as to keep up those drawing skills.
A last comment to make is that this collection of pieces are not overdone or overworked. They are fresh and direct and complete in presentation, a good representation of what is happening in “art class”. Coming soon will be the middle school student works. Congrats to all the students represented here. Students, be sure to thank your teachers who take the time to develop project ideas, guide you along the way and then have to evaluate your success at having achieved the intended vision or mastered the needed skills.