‘Student art’ excels at Meramec gallery


Sarah Weinman is from St. Louis and earned a master’s degree in art  history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She loves to plan trips and travel.  In her spare time she enjoys photography and writing, and she belongs to a weekly writers’ group. Her blog looks at visual arts in St. Louis, featuring whenever possible Jewish artists or themes.

By Sarah Weinman

When you hear the phrase “student artwork,” you might think about basic media like drawing and painting.  But the work in the the Juried Student Art Exhibition at the Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery rivals anything in professional galleries around town.  It’s thought-provoking and fun to look at, and the variety of media should satisfy everyone.

My favorite work in the show, recliner by Tracy Lindwedel, is a wood frame and metal reclining chair.  However, any similarity to an actual piece of furniture ends there.  Broken and jagged wood shims, packed tightly into the back and leg support of the chair, take the place of cushions.  This piece presents the opposite idea of a recliner (soft, comforting, comfortable, and familiar).  It’s scary.  It looks like a torture device, menacing and strange.  recliner requires us to think about our assumptions of furniture as functional, well-designed, ergonomic, comfortable, and pleasing to behold.

While recliner causes us to keep our distance, work in the graphic design category beckons for us to come closer.  Per an assignment, students designed labels for 4 different made-up brands of energy drinks.  For each brand, they created labels for 4 cans and a box to contain them.

Juiceology’s slogan is “pure fruit juice and sparkling water” and features a different image of fruit on each can.  For example, the apple juice drink displays a picture of a green apple on a white can with green text that says “an apple flavored beverage.”  The fruit on all the cans appears to wear glasses, symbolic of the drink as a fusion of science/technology and nature.  The design is clever and the colors bright and appealing.


Another brand, Karma Blast, offers four assorted tea flavors.  The white box shows Chinese characters in red, green, and mustard to emphasize the Asian origin of the teas.  Karma Blast offers Green Tea, one of the flavors, in a green can with Chinese characters.  This design is sleek, modern, and streamlined, meant to appeal to young people who want healthier beverages.

Located on the campus of St. Louis Community College – Meramec, the Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery is in the Humanities East (HE) building.  The gallery is on the first floor in the corridor where the HE building connects to the Theater Building.  The Juried Student Art Exhibition runs through May 8.  Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and closed on Sundays For more information, call 314-984-7632.  This link provides a map of the campus: http://www.stlcc.edu/Maps/Meramec.html