Sensational student art show at BRAF

Posted:  Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 4:15pm
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The art of students in grades Pre-K through 12 from Boothbay Region Elementary School, Edgecomb Eddy School, Southport Central School and Boothbay Region High School is on display at Boothbay Region Art Foundation in Boothbay Harbor. This annual show will be up through this weekend, May 19-21 and can be seen 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — and you won’t want to miss it.

BRES art teacher Jessica Nadeau selected two pieces of art by all her students in grades Pre-K through two. Her students in grades three through six also have two pieces each, but were able to choose what they wanted to be part of the show. The grade seven set chose one piece for the show – and worked on a collaborative tile painting of Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night.”

At the opening reception on Mother’s Day, May 14, Nadeau gave each student attending a gold star/sun-shaped sticker on which was a single word: Artist! Nadeau also had a large metallic gold mailbox on display for attendees to send messages to the artists.

This is Nadeau’s fifth art show teaching at BRES and her ninth year teaching. “Art is SO important to a child’s education; they learn how to express themselves, how to think creatively, they learn creative problem-solving — skills they can apply to other subjects they study,” Nadeau said. “And, by nature, all kids want to make something.”

During the elementary school years, students are taught the elements of art and principles of design. For example, there’s the pre-k egg carton exhibit. Each student is given an egg carton (donated by Sweet Dreams from Southport). Nadeau puts all the colors of the rainbow plus white in the cartons, for the kids to experiment with mixing colors. Kindergartners learn weaving a basic over and under technique with yarn wound around eight Popsicle stick spokes, first grade brings paper weaving and in third grade they progress to a circular loom. A fourth grade ceramic tiles project revolves around Emily Dickinson’s poem, “The Birds of Hope.” Nadeau and the students read and discussed the poem and then created ceramic birds bearing one word … love, hope, and courage were among them.

One of the works in the show by sixth grade students are emotion lines. Students are asked to think of an emotion and make pencil lines of the emotion and then place yarn on the lines, and cover it with foil to create raised relief areas, then paint the negative space. A seventh grade project involves figure drawing and collage. Figures can be in any proportion on any kind of background, and students can clothe the figures as they wish.

The BRES art features two- and three-dimensional pieces, printmaking, collage, watercolor, drawing and perspective, weaving, wet felting and painting.

“It’s fun to see the work all together,” Nadeau said. “This is the first year of only showing the work done all year here at the gallery, and not at the school too – it was a traveling art show then! This is also a great place for the kids to explore what all the students are doing – even the older ones.”

Art by students at Southport Central School and Edgecomb Eddy School included self-portraits, block prints, painted clay figures, expressionism drawing, paper collage, painting in watercolor and oil pastels, and more. A few pieces, like Southport student artist Ronan Cullina’s expressionism drawing, are compelling when you consider he is in fourth grade. A man stands in a cemetery done in black oil pastel on white paper. The male figure, who appears to be letting out a scream, is drawn three-quarters human and one-quarter skeleton … Another painting by a third grade “Southporter” Cameron Payson, is called “Dark Night..” In it, moonlight shines down on a stretch of highway below a darkened sky with only one wild creature - a coyote, perhaps – approaching the road. The stillness with a hint of foreboding is intriguing.

BRHS art teacher Manon Lewis estimated there are 250 works in the show from the high school.

The art by students in grades 9-12 demonstrates ways in which they are asked to dig deeper into their creative souls. For example, one of the subjects of study is art with a social message in the minimalist style of NYC graffiti artist Keith Haring. Sophomore Jazmyne Lewis chose to make a statement about power and control over women in her drawing of a woman with her mouth covered by a cloth marked with an “X” and larger hand of someone standing behind her on the woman’s shoulder.

Sculpture students in grades 10-12 study lines and planes. One project asks them to create a three-dimensional sculpture using planes bearing aboriginal patterns/designs that are painted on the planes. Brightly colored animals, of all sizes, are fascinating to look at. The giant frog, by junior Tori Morin is really, really cool.

Surrealism drawing includes the study of Frida Kahlo in which the different sections of a figure are created by many students on paper that is folded multiple times. When completed, the figure is revealed – one fold at a time.

Represented work includes freshmen who take intro to art that includes studying the different reasons why artists make art, and discovering how artists use emotions to create, and how artists express feelings about social and political issues. The freshmen saw the play or movie of “A Christmas Carol” and made illustrations from the study of Matisse.

The bound word projects are created with a page from a book from which only certain words remain exposed. The student then writes a poem with a social or political message.

Work with linoleum tiles, assemblage, studies of Dahlov Ipcar, Klimt, contour drawing of hands, designing chairs for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, portraits, surrealistic drawing … incredible art has been produced during this year of study.

Lewis, who has been teaching since 1977 (at BRES when the doors first opened) said, “Art gives students the opportunity to be hands on,” Lewis said. “They love doing the gesture drawing and the modeling; carving stone … and they really got into the packing tape figures,” Lewis said.

The packing tape figures are, frankly, awesome. Find out for yourself – some are displayed in the windows, or, if you feel like spending a little time with just one – have a seat on the bench where a figure is chillin’. Jessica Nadeau did. She even crossed her right leg over her left knee just like the packing tape person. Now, here’s a question for you: When Nadeau did that, was this life imitating art?