By Elina Shapiro Staff Reporter
“Consumed” is an exhibit currently on display until November 30th at the UMF Art Gallery, which includes a year’s worth of used cardboard boxes posted to the walls – each one covered with a unique drawing and strong language, sculptures made from trash materials found on the street, as well as a paintings covering two walls that Beth Wittenberg, the featured artist, made in less than 24 hours while setting up her exhibit.
Students and community members slowly circled around the art gallery during Wittenberg’s opening night, stopping at each piece while enjoying small snacks, and pausing to talk with Wittenberg who made herself available to anyone who wanted to meet her and discuss her artwork.
The attendees greatly enjoyed her unique style. “I feel like the majority of adults have squashed their childlike instinct to just paint whatever, and not really worry about it and obviously this has meaning, she’s not worried about being judged, because it is more of an abstract, childish form of art, but it is so like, impactful,” said Madee Curtin, a junior in High School. “I just want to go back and draw whatever and not worry about it being super good, I feel so happy right now, looking at this honestly, I haven’t seen art like this in a long time.”
Wittenberg said that she doesn’t have a plan, she just sits down and sees what happens. “I don’t get strokes of inspiration,” she said. “…It’s a spiritual consent thing, I don’t believe I am actually in charge of any of it. I feel like it’s divinely inspired.”
Wittenberg also said that things in her subconscious are visible in her pieces. “Whatever I am talking about in the day, it comes out in the art,” she said. “If I have an interaction with somebody, it’s all part of the whole dialogue.”
“Consumed” is an intriguing exhibit, as Whittenberg says it has a double meaning to it. “The show is called “Consumed,” to me I call it my ‘consumerism project,” but the individual pieces all together are called ‘throw-away people,’ they include the sculptures, they’re all made from things that were thrown away and it’s ‘throw-away people’ because people are often not cared for, similar to the way we take care of our trash,” said Wittenberg.
Allex Reed, a junior Creative Writing major, was inspired by Wittenberg’s theme. “I really like this art style. I really like the sort of abstract, political structure, the commentary on the United States on consumption culture, on capitalism…” said Reed. “It’s all commentary. It’s really interesting, this sort of thing. I would love to get to the point where I can make commentary like this in my own writing.”
Wittenberg’s wife, Seri Potter, was also at the exhibit and was blown-away herself. “The depth of her knowledge is amazing,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve scratched more than the surface of her talent, I think there’s so much more there.” The Art Gallery is open Tuesday through