Finding Solace: The Dark Side of SUMA (opened October 28 - Dec 15)

Southern Utah University, Cedar City, Utah: The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) opened a new student curated exhibit on Friday, October 28, which will be on display until December 15, 2016. This new exhibit, titled Finding Solace: The Dark Side of SUMA, is a collection of art taken from SUMA’s collection that centers around the curators’ desire for the viewer to examine the depth of his or her personal emotions.

Finding Solace was curated by students at Southern Utah University, many of whom work at SUMA, gaining hands-on museum experience while obtaining their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Curators for the exhibit include Mallory Petersen, Michael Vierela, Ali Morgan, Sonia Pancheri, Kailie Roberts, and Gina Dodge.

Mallory Petersen, a studio art major and the exhibit coordinator, said, “We chose this theme to choose artwork that isn’t normally looked at because it deals with darker emotions. It was fun to look at the [museum’s] collection and consider the artist’s emotions when they were creating their work and how we as viewers perceive it. It was a cool experience to expose myself to this kind of art and help others to experience it as well.”

The curatorial statement for the exhibit suggests that, too often, people avoid talking about the darkness associated with the human condition. As a race, humans want to forget about painful memories. Feeling they are alone in their emotions, they want to remove their vulnerability. Sadness, fear, and anxiety are emotions that every human experiences. One way to confront and overcome these emotions is through art.

Sonia Pancheri, a visiting masters student from Milano, Italy, said, “It’s stimulating to dig through the collection and realize that art is not only about beauty, but also about the dark places of the soul.”

In this exhibit, the figures in each piece of art are stripped of all distinguishable characteristics, so they no longer represent a single identity, but the universal fears that characterize the human condition. By sharing these 13 pieces from SUMA’s collection, the student curators hope you remember, and find comfort in knowing, that though we are all vulnerable, you are not alone in feeling even the darkest of emotions.

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