Art displays move from gallery walls to computer screens

By Amanda M. Perez

Art displays move from gallery walls to computer screens

By Amanda M. Perez
The University of Miami’s Department of Art and Art History gets creative and offers digital exhibits in an effort to reach broader audiences.

It seems like during the age of COVID-19, our computers are the hottest new venue sites for all sorts of events. At the University of Miami, new art exhibitions, traditionally displayed in Wynwood, are now moving from gallery walls into the comforts of our own home.

The Department of Art and Art History is presenting its first online series of digital exhibitions. Christine Di Staola, who is obtaining her M.F.A. in painting and printmaking, was the first student who had the opportunity to transition and display her artwork digitally in her latest exhibitChristine Di Staola: Abstract Prints.” 

“We are living during a time where brick and mortar structures are not the only way that you can market your art and going through traditional channels is no longer the only way to go,” Di Staola said. 

The art student said she was a bit apprehensive about displaying her work online at first, but she quickly came to realize that there are a lot of advantages in her favor.

“For example, I’ve gotten immediate feedback, and it has generated great interest. Basically, in a matter of hours since the exhibit launched, I was contacted by somebody who was interested in my art, and that was a great feeling,” said Di Staola. 

She explains that her exhibition includes a variety of paintings and prints that exude vibrant colors. 

“I work with bright colors, gestures, and textures. I like the vibrance of life, and art does just that for me,” she said. “I think people right now could probably benefit from just sitting and looking at something and enjoying it and taking it in. I don’t want to call it a distraction, because that’s not it, it just helps open your heart during this difficult time.” 

Di Staola said that even though she has faced challenges in continuing her studies at home, she is still inspired to keep creating new pieces. 

“I live in an efficiency, and I don’t have a ton of space. But what you do is you adapt and see how you can take all your creative energy and transform it,” she explained. “I’m working in a smaller format now, and I’m happy with the products. They’re wonderful little works, and it gives me a sense of hope that things can work out. “ 

Monica Travis is another student whose artwork is being featured in a digital landscape online. The senior BFA student majoring in sculpture said she learned to adapt to the circumstances quickly. 

“I’ve been working with technology for a few years and generally create 3D models of my sculptures. This made it easier to create a virtual exhibition. It was definitely a learning experience, but I adapted well,” she said. 

Travis explained that her installation, “Make Yourself At Home,” uses sculpture as a conceptual mirror to visually represent cultural absurdity. Her work intends to reflect idiosyncrasies that exist in the world surrounding her.  

Nhat Nguyen, a senior B.F.A. student majoring in graphic design, is another student whose work recently has been transitioned into a digital exhibit

The experience shows me that even in a difficult situation, there is still hope. Even though I still want to show people my artwork in person, working online has its own benefits,” he said.

Nguyen’s B.F.A. show includes different graphic design projects that he produced during his time at the University. They include illustrations, product packaging, animation, calendar design, and a photobook.  

“In general, my aesthetic is about minimalism and simplicity,” he added. “Everything has to flow well together. As a graphic designer, legibility and design with a structure that is easy for the viewer to follow is crucial. Graphic design is about translating the visual and information to the reader in a clear way.” 

Di Staola hopes to continue to incorporate digital exhibits moving forward. 

“UM in general has helped me learn how to get this online and social presence. It’s an interesting opportunity when we get back to a new normal. And, I think it might actually become routine in the future,” she said. 

As for Nguyen, he hopes these digital exhibits will help him reach a broader audience. 

“My goal is to influence others who share a similar passion in the art field. Also, I want to collaborate with other creatives on different art projects moving forward,” he said. 

Visit https://art.as.miami.edu/index.html for more information on the Department of Art and Art History.