CWC STUDENT VIRTUAL ART EXHIBIT, 2021
The Counseling and Wellness Center is proud to exhibit this work created by University of Florida students. Our call to artists requested artwork that inspires individual and collective healing. In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month in September 2021, this year’s exhibition invites exploration of the following ideas: “out of the darkness to the dawn,” “from isolation to connection,” “finding hope amidst pain,” and “from missing to listening.”
Enjoy this virtual exhibit!
Bergeron Boy, Nadia Wooten
Artist: Ian Switzer
"The concept of this composition is one that depicts a personal family story. My sister was born a twin and within seven days, one of the twins passed away. The purple butterfly is an indication of a child passing away and as a family story we tell, whenever my sister is around, a butterfly is too! The idea of isolation comes from the emotional trauma of losing a loved one (especially a twin). And this piece makes that emotional connection of such a deep narrative. The connection aspect comes into play with the fact that even though they aren’t together physically, they are in spirit (Since they are twins it’s like a reflection). This is my contribution to a very emotional and sensitive topic within my family."
Artist: Allie Pishock
"In times of uncertainness and depression, it is often common to feel detached from oneself, or even like you have become a different version of what you once were. I understand these feelings, as I too have felt them throughout periods in my life. Once healing begins, however, you never forget how you were when at your worst. It is part of your story and your journey now. This piece, Connections, explores these ideas. Two similar organic shapes, decorated in comparable materials, represent the human in two different stages of this journey. The black shape, serving as the darkest times in one’s life, and the more colorful, serving as the healing times. Notice, the colorful shape still contains blackness in its composition. This is to express that one may never fully rid of certain negative thoughts or feelings, but is still capable of living a brighter, happier life. These two bodies are connected by a tangled array of black and white yarn, as there are certainly ups and downs, bad and good experiences that lead one to overcoming these difficult emotions. These experiences are complex, and can take a lot of work to untangle, but it is possible to reach the other side and attain contentment with life."
Artist: Emma Schicking
Embodiment: "My realism piece centers around the embodiment that I feel when presenting myself confidently in my own way, regardless of “expected” gender roles. I was inspired by a text-book reading I had to do a couple weeks ago which gave powerful examples of male traits such as “toughness, independence, and decisiveness” then listed “supportive, physically attractive, passive, compliant, and emotional” for female traits which felt like an understatement of what traits I believe females can possess. By drawing myself in a typically “manly” position I wanted to represent the ways that masculine traits are easily integrated into my feminine identity, and that gender roles that have been enforced all around me are allowed to be broken. I wanted this piece to be strong and confrontational yet real-life feeling with normal clothes and my dorm room chair with pink and blue light both lightly shining onto me to represent the confidence I feel from embodying the mix of traits in my everyday life."
Disembodiment: "My abstract piece centers around feeling tangled in conflicting emotions when faced with situations that involve people who don’t want to see you differing from their expectations of what a woman should be. There is a feeling of disembodiment and isolation in those moments where I contemplate trying to “dull down” the way I present myself to fit in better and not feel like I’m standing out as much. I wanted to represent this as a whirlwind of emotions circling this green colored representation of me, with blue and pink representing the “typical” gender roles people may expect. With my figure being more tangled than the others it demonstrates the internal conflict I feel about whether to be myself or fit people’s expectations."
Title: "Bergeron Boy"
Artist: Nadia Wooten
"This piece was a collaboration between local music artist, Jerry Jerome and I. Jerry allowed me to listen to his project and his ideas to help create a photo that represented his passion and interest for this album. These are Jerry’s thoughts, “I think the photos relate to finding hope amidst pain. The gray, whites, and dark shadows in the picture truly convey the loneliness and confusion of being a Black man in America. The monotony of the colors is exactly how most of us feel deep aside as we survive in this world built to destroy us.” Jerry’s vulnerability in his music and this photo offer up a connection to others from the isolation that toxic masculinity breeds. In this past year and a half, we have all felt separated and alone. Through this project not only were Jerry and I able to work through and think about hard truths, but we were able to connect with each other and our audience through our art. Collaborative work shows the strength of different minds coming together to really create something beautiful, and that’s exactly what this project was. I am extremely grateful to have been a part of Jerry’s process, and I am grateful he got to be a part of mine as well."
Title: "New Joy"
Artist: Alexia Rangel Krashenitsa
"The year leading up to college was difficult. I felt repeatedly torn apart. In my first semester of college, I was unmotivated, stressed, and lost. I was exhausted from the way I was feeling. Transitioning to Spring, I gave myself fewer class credits, forced myself to do one thing I enjoy each day (even if I could only do it for 30 minutes), and tried to be more active in clubs. It was not a total improvement, but it was a step forward. I felt more comfortable and hopeful. Motivated, I came up with the concept for this piece towards the end of the Spring semester. New Joy is a self-portrait, but my true intention was to represent the happiness I was finding. To do so, I incorporated small things that make me happy: soft pastel colors, birds, and golden hour. The birds are finches, who are beautiful singers and representations of joy. They flock around me not only to portray joy coming to me but also because I would personally be excited to be surrounded by birds. I painted my expression to seem at peace and satisfied. This piece is a timeless representation of finding happiness, no matter who I am or what I go through."
Title: "Anxiety Incarnate"
Artist: Gitcimber Gay
"Growing up in a household that cared little about mental health, speaking about my feelings and struggles wasn’t much of an option for me. So when I had one of the worst anxiety spikes to my memory, I decided to express my emotions through art instead of words. My art aims to capture the feelings of pain, confusion, and overwhelmingness that I felt in those moments. During those dark few days, though, I still felt a sense of hope. It was what kept me going through those rough times, so I made sure to express it in my drawing as well."
Title: "Witch’s Enlightenment"
Artist: Tori-Parker Freyre
"This piece is a multimedia piece created through manual photography, litho print making, digital editing, and animation. It represents my spirituality, how we often deny, repress and misrepresent spirituality, and that beautiful moment when one finally breaks through to connect with nature and the universe by releasing that spiritual self and connecting with God. Things can seem very overwhelming and even dark at times but then you align yourself into the proper headspace and connect with something bigger than simply yourself and the world just seems to open up and make sense. It is a type of rebirth, awakening, and spiritual enlightenment."
The Infantry Within
Title: "The Infantry Within"
Artist: Cassandra Belden
"The Infantry Within (2020) is 4’ x 2.5’, and created with acrylic on canvas. I am typically an oil painter working with still-life subject; however at this time in my life I felt a visceral need to create a piece that articulated strength in emotion. This composition represents the power of using strong emotion as communication versus self-destruction. I wanted to form an idea around using emotion as a personal army, rather than something that hinders one from connecting to themselves and others. I used red to represent anger, and blue to represent sadness. The two colors are intertwined throughout the canvas and blending to suggest unity between two emotionally influential forces."