Matchbox Gallery Salon attracts an artsy gaggle
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 14, 2012 03:09
Though salons historically were gallery spaces run by committees of pompous judges who boldly rejected works of Paul Cezanne and Edouard Manet, the Matchbox Salon snubbed tradition with a campus-inclusive showcase that opened Sept. 6. With a concept akin to the CelebrateART festival last spring, the Matchbox Gallery is currently featuring work by students of all majors in a salon-style show until Sept. 16.
“We really wanted to kick-off the school year and our time as directors by opening a show that really celebrates the arts at Rice,” co-director Alexandria Fernandez said. “We felt that it was important to get as many students and Rice affiliates represented as possible and think that the show illustrates our diverse arts community.”
Though Rice’s only student-run gallery space is a single room off the second floor of the Sewall Hall Courtyard, directors Fernandez and Lisa Biletska transformed its white walls into a collage of two-dimensional photos, paintings, prints and drawings.
“I love how Alex and Lisa arranged the artwork,” Lovett College senior Annie Hsiao said. “It was such an eclectic group of images, and I think they assembled it in a very coherent and interesting way.”
Open picture frames encircle multiple art pieces, and the large charcoal drawing of a horse with a naked woman’s body is just as pronounced as the painting of a sitting lamb.
Hsiao, an anthropology and visual and dramatic arts major, submitted a series of photographs of Freedmen’s Town in the Fourth Ward. She was first introduced to the community during an archaelogy excavation, and returned to capture the town for a photography assignment.
“The town was established right after the Civil War and has been occupied since,” Hsiao said. “There was this complex interaction between the historical community and its modern aspirations. There were all these ‘shotgun’ houses in various states of disrepair, more modern-looking buildings and lots of interesting people.”
Baker College sophomore Tori Laxalt said she thought the Matchbox Gallery opening succeeded in attracting students and faculty outside of the visual arts department. On the same night, the visual arts faculty and Glassell School of Art Core Fellows also hosted their Fall Art Kick-off in the Sewall Hall Courtyard with a slideshow “jam” of their work.
Laxalt, an English major, had one piece featured in the Salon: a drawing of a 1970s-era girl skateboarding.
“It was nice to be able to put something up that I worked hard on, to be able to show my friends what actually came out of having charcoal dust all over my face all those times after class,” Laxalt said.
Hsiao matched Laxalt’s sentiment of the opportunity to showcase her work. Though commissioned and student artworks on campus are becoming more prominent, Hsiao said she thinks Rice can improve on making student art more visible.
“Seeing our friends’ art around campus not only gives us something to work toward, but also encourages other students to explore art, especially those that are engineering and science majors who may have never considered taking an art class,” Hsiao said.
Luckily for art enthusiasts, from the physics major who paints as a hobby to the Shepherd School musician who wants to host an open-air concert, the Matchbox Gallery provides an outlet for students to engage with the arts, whether through appreciation or participation.
“Matchbox is a testament to the freedom Rice students have on campus to pursue what they are interested in and experiment with it,” Fernandez said. “We hope the gallery will continue to develop into a reputable flexible art space in the Houston community.”