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Sunday, June 16, 2024
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A glimpse into the 96th WUD Annual Student Art Show

The Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Art Committee is currently celebrating its 96th Annual Student Art Show, showcasing the captivating artwork of passionate students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

With more than 60 submissions, the committee  meticulously selected each piece to highlight the diverse talents and creative visions of student artists, ensuring a dynamic and engaging exhibition. 

The WUD Art Committee is devoted to presenting innovative exhibitions for the Madison community. From oil paintings to pottery, the show provides students with a platform to express themselves and acquire valuable experience within the art world. 

WUD's Annual Student show Case photographed on Feb. 28, 2024.

Charlotte Knihtila, a UW-Madison freshman pursuing an art degree, earned the best-in-show award for her digital painting “Different Worlds.” She said most of her work aims to show humanity’s relationships with technology, but lately she redirected her focus to explore the emotions associated with the human experience. 

Knihtila’s colored pencil drawing “The InterWeb” was also featured in the gallery. The montage piece is a portrayal of various personal moments from Knihtila’s life, with a prominent spider positioned at the top. She aimed to convey the freedom individuals have with posting online but also the lack of privacy that comes with it. She hopes viewers will relate to the positive images shown and analyze the dark undertone of the piece. 

“The internet can be a wonderful tool and place to communicate, but there are downsides,” Knihtila said. “Everyone can view what you post publicly. The spider in the piece represents an observer who others may not want to view their intimate or happy moment.” 

A freshman studying philosophy and world language, Lorelai Lewis’ artwork is also featured in the exhibition. Fascinated by art for as long as she can remember, Lewis said she only began oil painting a year ago.

Her piece, “April,” is inspired by the fields of tulips that appear in the Netherlands — specifically Holland — during the month of April. It portrays a girl gazing directly at the viewer set against a backdrop of tulips and a tranquil body of water. Lewis hopes to evoke a sense of delight and calmness in those who interact with her piece. 

“The expression of the figure in the painting changed several times throughout the painting process. I decided on this one because it is very neutral,” Lewis said. “Sometimes I will look back at the piece and find the expression of the girl to be hopeful or dreamy, and other times I find her to look more distraught, calling it a method of self-reflection on how the viewer is feeling.” 

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The opening ceremony, held on Feb. 9, gave artists an opportunity to present their artwork to the public, family and friends. Students expressed deep gratitude for the opportunity to have their art displayed in the exhibition, and Knihtila and Lewis underscored the crucial role art plays in unifying the Madison community. 

“On a large campus, there is always a lot happening all at once, so being able to shrink down the environment to a digestible amount of people who share a common interest is a wonderful benefit of hosting an art show,” Lewis said. “This is a great reminder to all of us that art is valuable, deserves more funding and can bring a community together.” 

WUD Art Coordinator Keeley Flynn encouraged students to apply for the upcoming exhibition season at the Wisconsin Union Galleries. Applications are due March 3 at 11:59 p.m. 

This free exhibition will remain open until March 15 and is located in the Main Gallery and the class of 1925 Gallery in Memorial Union. Galleries are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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