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Kappa Pi showcases vivid student art in “Covid Comforts: creating despite chaos”

Updated: Sep 24, 2022

After an extensive hiatus, Belmont’s Kappa Pi art honor society is back with a student-led exhibition showcasing artwork created during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Through March 26, 2021, “Covid Comforts: Creating Despite Chaos” will be on exhibit at the Meaders Student Gallery in the Leu Center for Visual Arts. Since March 2020, the artists involved have been working on pieces remotely in their own creative hubs, and the goal of this exhibition is to draw attention to the creative processes they developed during lockdown.

“This is an opportunity to express and represent the emotions of how members felt during COVID,” said Amanda Agee, Belmont senior and president of Kappa Pi.

The theme of this exhibit is the expression of individuality.

Walking down the hallway, visitors can see the variety of media artists worked with in isolation, with everything from painting and photography to graphic design represented in the gallery.

No two pieces explore the same subjects, styles or themes. One may see a grayscale oil painting of a landscape with a lonely house by freshman Taylor Jones; next to it is a set of bigger, abstract paintings with colors that play off each other but still work cohesively, created by sophomore Hannah Einhorn.

Prior to “Covid Comforts,” Kappa Pi members had no active projects to work on, so the work on display highlights freedom of expression, made without any restrictions set by class assignments.

Each person had this period of time for their minds and artwork to wander, reaching for topics and techniques that were completely new to them.

“Right now, I’m doing a series of portraits that incorporate floral elements,” said Will Maddox, treasurer of Kappa Pi.

Maddox submitted photos with digitally edited floral elements, as well as colored pencil self-portraits. He mentioned some words of wisdom from one of his professors that spurred the creative energy behind his floral pieces: “just go follow that fascination and figure out why.”

For Agee, much of quarantine was spent working on her senior show, and she used that time to develop new painting techniques. She painted large-scale works but noticed the huge amount of leftover paint from her projects, so she started folding her leftover paint and paper to create anatomical shapes, inspired by the ink blot tests psychologists use.

“They’re an abstract piece with a unique texture and look like rib cages,” said Agee. “I love the surprise factor.”

Her work admitted in the gallery consists of smaller ink blot pieces.

Another artist in the exhibit is junior Lane Carnell, director of the Meaders Student Gallery. During quarantine, Carnell experimented with more sculptural media. One of the pieces he created was a dress with sheer top panels and an underskirt covered with jewels and rhinestones.

“Working with new materials made me expand my horizons, and the product actually turned out to be perfect,” said Carnell.

Though Belmont’s Kappa Pi artists have spent the last two semesters adapting to new creative conditions, the “Covid Comforts” exhibit is living proof they’ve been diligently working and experimenting all this time.

“We wanted to showcase what Kappa Pi has been doing while we fell off the face of the Earth,” said Carnell.

This article written by Jack Brady.

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