Honorable Discharge: An Honors Art Exhibition

Senior Mangie Moreno Mora showcases her performance art during this year's art honors exhibition, "Honorable Discharge."

Photographs of body parts with phrases in black sharpie on them. A comic panel in the style of a video game. A colorful mandala. A tiny beaded horse—all these and more occupied the Rice Gallery for the Honors Art and Art History Exhibition, titled “Honorable Discharge.”

The artwork of Lauren Parks, Mangie Moreno Mora, Betty Japinga, Amanda Owens, Emily Johnson, Gwen Chandler, Karlie Pickett and Steph Perez adorned the Rice Gallery, and the opening reception on March 26 gave the artists a chance to discuss their work with the dozens of attendees.

Prior to the artist talk at 6 p.m., senior Mangie Moreno Mora did her own piece of performance art—clad in just her bra and underwear, various phrases, thoughts, and insecurities were written over most available inches of her skin. Given that the abundance of attendees of the reception made the small Gallery rather overheated, her performance art was also quite practical. Mangie’s physical art pieces focused on our generation, millennials, and how we form relationships.

Artist Steph Perez utilized genres of memoir and comics to explain her early life, her family, her religion and her love of video games. She credited the creative nonfiction writing class she took last spring for allowing her to explore various genres to tell her own story.

Gwen Chandler’s work is inspired by nature, and she declares in her artist statement that her work “focuses on bringing about a sort of spiritual connection between the natural world and us.” In addition to the mandala, a type of art in a circular shape that comes from the Buddhist and Hindu tradition, she also has dioramas depicting natural scenes.

Gwen Chandler's mandala

Gwen Chandler’s mandala

Karlie Pickett’s artwork focuses on introversion and extroversion, and especially the convening of the two. She says that “if you have a pulse, my work relates to you.” She acknowledges the introvert, who recharges by spending time alone, and the extrovert, who recharges by being around others. She also sheds light on the grey area, for those who fall in between extroversion and introvesion.

Emily Johnson’s work is inspired by memory. She uses beads and jewelry to create her pieces, stating that “the image becomes pixelated and somewhat deformed, making it harder to distinguish, similar to recalling certain memories in your head.”

Betty Japinga’s pieces center on the “idea of home,” as based on her own experiences throughout her life and while growing up. She notes that she has often felt like a modern nomad, moving from one place to another, and, as such, home is not as steady of a place or definition as it may be for others.

Amanda Owens, a double major in art and math, utilizes both of her fields of study in her work. She describes that her art “conceptualizes mathematical ideas within formal compositions of lines and color.” Her various pieces and paintings use a diverse array of line and color to contrast and synergize the two concepts.

Lauren Parks’ work focuses on the reality of divorce for children, especially in relation to her own life. “40% of children in the United States will experience a parental divorce,” she explains in her artist’s statement, “and half of those will reside with a single parent.”

On display now through April 18 in the Rice Gallery is the Kathryn E. Went Juried Undergraduate Exhibition.

Works by Owens, Perez and Pickett will be on display again at the Rice Gallery during “StaticGraphudio,” the first of two senior capstone exhibitions, from April 21 through May 2. The gallery reception for this show will take place on April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Works by Chandler, Japinga, Johnson and Moreno will be on display in the Rice Gallery during “MALLBEG: Comfort Is the Enemy of Progress,” the second senior capstone exhibition, from May 7 through May 16. The gallery reception for this show will take place on May 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.