Our proximity to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has its benefits. Not only are we able to utilize their facility to exhibit our own student artwork, but we have also formally partnered with them as an MFAH Learning Lab School. As an MFAH Learning Lab School we share an incredible partnership with the MFAH, including unlimited, complimentary access to their three state-of-the-art buildings. Students, beginning in Early Childhood, walk outside our doors and into the hallowed halls of the MFAH with just a few steps. Having the Museum as a teaching tool has elevated our students' learning experiences.
This year’s Middle School Art Exhibit features the observance, study, and creative vision of the natural world by our 6th-8th grade students. In the 32 different projects on exhibit, you will see nature reflected in some aspect, from the expected animals, still lifes, and landscapes, to the unexpected “Impossible Creatures,” self-portraits that make you hungry, and painting with yarn.
We see in the natural world such a rich array of colors, forms, and textures. Texture was explored by seventh graders in the study of tree bark which built student’s mark-making skills, as well as in the study of the ancient Japanese shading technique to affect mist. Sculpture students relied on their sense of feel as well as sight when forming their first bowl, careful to create wall and floor planes of the same thickness. Mastering this allowed them to advance to larger, more complex forms like rattles, masks and sea creatures. Paper art students needed patience and perseverance to create their forms by folding hundreds and hundreds of tiny modular paper units to create origami creatures. Just as in nature, color varied in student projects from the muted hand-crafted paper used in collages, to the vivid colors of Fauvism and the gradients in color pencil compositions.
Inspiration comes in many guises. Eighth grade digital artists collaborated with first graders to present their clients with the digital image of their highly imaginative creatures. Sixth grader painters parodied great masterworks such as the stoic American Gothic and the sober Mona Lisa. Taking their cue from 16th century Italian portrait artist Guiseppe Arcimboldo, eighth grade digital artists produced self portraits made entirely from fruits, flowers and vegetables. Also inspiring is the collaborative artwork undertaken by every artist in the sixth grade. Each student was given a square of the painting The Turning Road, L’Estaque to recreate with the challenging medium of yarn. Challenging for the teacher was dividing the rectangular painting into an odd number (77) of squares! The unexpected elements found here will make you smile.
From hand-crafted paper collages, armadillo studies, earthen clay sculptures of deep sea creatures and fall landscapes to collaborative class projects of expressive colors, impressive skill sets, and wild imaginations, uncover the joy, dedication, and humor of our talented youth.
Encounters with the Natural World will be on display at the Glassell School of Art (5101 Montrose Blvd.) March 2-24.