Artist and professor Chris Musina celebrates student artwork at the 2023 Juried Student Exhibition

Student photography, paintings, digital illustrations, sculptures and more decked the walls of King-Shivell Lounge on Thursday, March 16 for the 2023 Juried Student Exhibition. The annual art exhibition, which features self-submitted work from students across campus, is hosted by the Communication Arts and Design department.

This year’s third-party juror, artist and professor Chris Musina, awarded first, second, and third place to the following pieces:

  • 1st place: “A Mouse Nest in My Hair?” by Tessa Wells. Wells’ piece is done in the medium oil on canvas.
  • 2nd place: “Color and Androgyny” by Lydia Petit. Petit’s piece is composed of colored pencil and watercolor on paper.
  • 3rd place: “Silence of the Water pt. 1” by Kandace Kennedy. Kennedy’s piece is a photograph in the medium digital c-print.

Musina explained that he tends to favor art that highlights weirdness and oddity and makes him feel strong emotions, a preference that is obvious in his own work as well. Musina himself works in many different mediums, primarily painting and ink drawing. Regardless of the medium, however, he likes to explore animalism and the animal inside all of us.

Nearly all his pieces have a representation of an animal in one way or another, whether that be a life-like painting of a bird in flight, as in his piece, “Crow/Center,” or merely the idea of a snake as in his piece, “Still Life with Snake in a Can,” which illustrates the phony “fancy salted mixed nuts” toy that houses a spring-loaded fake snake inside.

Animals are a central focus of the art Musina said inspires him as well. He points to John James Audubon, the artist, naturalist, and ornithologist for whom the Audubon Society is named; Gary Larsen, creator of the comic “The Far Side”; and Frans Snyders, known for his grandiose still lifes, hunting scenes, and animals both dead and alive, as a few of his inspirations.

The piece Musina chose for first place reflects his affinity for art that depicts animals. “A Mouse Nest in My Hair?” shows a woman sitting on the floor with rats crawling through her hair. All the pieces in the exhibition will remain on display in King-Shivell for the next couple of weeks and members of the campus and local community are encouraged to come out and view some of the best work by Lees-McRae students.

Tessa Wells with her first place piece, "A Mouse Nest in My Hair?"
Lydia Petit with her second place piece, "Color and Androgyny" (top)
Kandace Kennedy with her third place piece, "Silence of Water pt. 1"
By Maya JarrellMarch 20, 2023
AcademicsCampus Life