The university’s Pride Alliance opened the first art gallery exclusively focused on the LGBTQ+ community yesterday as part of its pride week programming.
The Queer and Trans Art Show can be found outside of the Union art gallery wall until April 15. The gallery highlights queer and trans students, which is a milestone for those involved, said Kristen Baxter, social media coordinator of the Pride Alliance and studio arts senior.
“The art world, for the most part, throughout history, has been extremely inaccessible to most types of people,” Baxter said. “There are tons of very famous and infamous queer artists in art history, but even so, there’s only a limited palette — white and male. The important thing here is to give a voice to the queer and trans students on campus.”
Another goal of the gallery is to give students the experience of having their work displayed in a gallery, Baxter said. To help give students exposure, QR codes linking to the artists’ portfolios will be next to gallery pieces.
Art education sophomore Olguita Marble is a multidisciplinary artist who started creating in high school. Her piece in the gallery specializes in elegant violence, which Marble said is a merging of horror and beauty. Marble’s piece, known as “Jekyll and Hyde,” is a diptych, meaning it has two pieces of art side by side, and it was created with oil and acrylic paints. One portrait was done in a conventional style and the other takes on more monstrous features.
The piece carries themes of religious trauma, coming out and hiding parts of one’s self, Marble said.
“A lot of it consists of the overall general emotions that I have felt that other people can relate with,” Marble said. “I want people to be able to say, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve felt that too.’”
Another artist featured is biology senior Julia Box. Box’s piece, “Traumatically Yours, Clever Gworl,” is a collage featuring a Li’l Miss Doll, a Valentine’s Day card with a cat on it, a transparent telephone with the words “I vibe with it,” a price sticker and various shapes against an orange and black swirl background. Written across the piece are the words “I still think about the goat in ‘Jurassic Park.’”
Box said the piece is a hodgepodge of nostalgic pieces that comes together to symbolize growing up too fast and childhood fears and how those affect a person’s development into adulthood. The collage reflects Box’s art style, which takes inspiration from old technology and other vintage items to reflect their current emotions and the color palette uses neons and bright colors. They said the piece contrasts a bright and cheerful mood with dark undertones.
“I have come up with my own answers for what it means, but I want the viewers to look at it, come up with their own stories and just feel joy,” Box said.
The Queer and Trans Art Show is a collection of queer and trans artists presenting what they feel to be their best work, Baxter said. In the future, the pride alliance is looking to create themed galleries that focus on different aspects of the queer experience.
Featured Image: A student looks at the Pride Alliance’s Queer and Trans Art Show displayed in the Union on April 1, 2022. Photo by John Anderson