Welch Gallery celebrates alumni with 100 at 100

Color splash. Brush stroke. A cluster of aesthetics, housed under one roof. The roof is that of the Welch School Galleries, and the art is borne of its very own.

Candra Umunna | The Signal
The Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design Alumni lent a total of 100 pieces of various types of art to be displayed in the 100 at 100 Gallery.

For Georgia State’s Centennial celebration, the Welch Gallery celebrates the achievements of university alumni with 100 at 100. The exhibition showcases 100 works by 50 students who have graduated between 1970 and today.

The exhibition is a testament not only to the past but to the future of Georgia State artists. The alumni continue to push their creative boundaries with mediums including video, photography, sculpture, painting and mixed media.

Atlanta art critic Jerry Cullum juried the collection because of his 30 years of experience observing the ways the Georgia State art community has impacted Atlanta and the world.

Due to his familiarity with Georgia State’s artists, Cullum’s selections maintained the strictest amount of anonymity possible. Numerous submissions were reviewed by Cullum without any knowledge of the artists’ names, and from these he selected the final pieces.

“The artists’ statements were illuminating,” Cullum said. “There was numerous delightful surprises in encountering new bodies of work by artists whom I know well but who have struck out in new directions.”

Cullum said that while the exhibition displays an impressive snapshot of the Welch School’s past, it is far from a historical portrait.

“It’s a good show but it can’t claim to be a historically represented show, though you can tell the evolution of certain styles of abstraction,”

The diversity and continued evolution of Georgia State’s artists can be attributed to their relative freedom in exploring their creative impulses and the influence of their dedicated faculty.

“Georgia State has had obvious impact on style and sensibility because students have been able to explore their own aesthetics,” says Cullum. For current undergraduate art students, 100 at 100 showcases the many ways in which commitment to their personal visions can benefit them after graduation.

Much like the diversity of Georgia State’s student body, the diversity of the exhibition was bound together by larger themes which unified the disparate pieces and their subject matter. Cullum found a strong connection to nature not only in style but in actual materials used.

“There was a distinct interest in spirituality and the meaning of human existence,” Cullum said. “There was frequent use of natural materials in sculpture and in the representation of photography.”

Each work contains a separate voice and story which displays how art separated by time and life experiences can join together to affect a greater community outside of themselves.

Candra Umunna and Anthony Simmons | The Signal

“I would like attendees to come away with a fresh appreciation of the breadth and depth of artists that GSU has produced over the past 40 years and a new understanding of how art can evolve partly as a result of the GSU influence,” Cullum said.

It would be impossible to understand the overall impact of the Welch School of Art and Design from one exhibition. The importance of 100 at 100 stems not from the quantity or diversity of the art, but the amount of life which these artists continue to breathe into Atlanta.