Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Steel sculptures, oil paintings and acrylics liven up Brandt Hall in art exhibition

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Sculpture senior Melanie Reichert won best in show at the Brandt student art exhibition on April 18. The piece titled, "Faerie Forged II" included a set of angular steel objects hanging on the wall like a painting, connected by chains.
Photo by Alyssa Lunsford

Brandt Hall, which houses the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology, will exhibit 15 artworks from students now through November.

On Monday, April 18, Professor of Art and Design Chris Wubbena introduced the Brandt Art Exhibition on the mezzanine of Brandt Hall.

“It’s always a question of, ‘How artful of a life do you want to live?’” Wubbena said. “If you want to live an artful, creative life, you want to surround yourself with art.”

Wubbena said he was approached by the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology chair Christopher Bradley and Department of Art and Design chair Nancy Palmeri about the idea.

Wubbena said Palmeri and Bradley wanted to transform a space like Brandt Hall into something that helps people live more creatively.

“We all know Brandt isn’t an art museum,” Wubbena said. “How do we create a space that’s artful, that’s engaging?”

Students from various disciplines contributed 46 artworks, and 15 were chosen to be displayed throughout Brandt Hall.

Faculty from the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology judged winners of the exhibit.

A steel structure titled, "Distracted" by Biochemistry senior Olivia Bullock was displayed in the Brandt Student Art Exhibition on April 18. Bullock said she was originally inspired for "Distracted" after nearly being blown off of the road one day and losing her train of thought. The Brandt exhibition was judged by faculty in the Department of Criminal Justice, Social Work and Sociology.
Photo by Alyssa Lunsford

Best in Show was awarded to Sculpture Senior Melanie Reichert for the sculpture “Faerie Forged II,” a set of angular steel objects with drawn patterns of nature that hang on the wall like a painting and are connected by chains.

“I was thinking about the relationship between my sculptures and my paintings, so I made something that was similar to how a painting would hang on the wall, but more in a sculptural style,” Reichert said.

She said it uses earthy colors to focus on the natural rather than the industrial aspect of steel and has an “ethereal, fairy vibe.” It is on the top floor of Brandt Hall.

Second place went to the sculpture “Distracted,” by Biochemistry Senior Olivia Bullock. It is a steel model of a woman blown adrift, her head whirled away on a springy spiral.

Bullock said she was inspired to create this sculpture one day when she was driving to her welding class and her car was nearly blown off of the road.

“I lost my train of thought [when my car was blown] and wanted to get it back, and thought, ‘I could probably make a sculpture of that!’” Bullock said.

She said she took a welding course as a “Covid treat” to herself in Summer 2020 and plans to do it more in the future.

“Distracted” can be seen against the windows on the mezzanine of Brandt Hall.

At the event, Provost Mike Godard thanked the departments for the collaboration.

“There is a hidden art gallery in Academic Hall that very few people know about, and it’s actually my office,” Godard said.

He said he only has SEMO faculty and art and design created works displayed, and that they are great talking points like the ones now in Brandt.

Bradley said he hopes this can inspire other buildings to host their own exhibits, which Wubbena said he’s already hearing people talk about.

The exhibit will be on display until November 2022.