By Amanda Romeo
New perspectives on mental illness were brought to light in a student art show presented by Hofstra’s FORM Gallery. The gallery was an effort to raise money for The Invisible Illnesses, a non-profit that provides free workshops for middle and high school students on mental health and suicide prevention.
The pieces were presented in all different types of media, including poetry, creative writing, a three-dimensional object and acrylics on paper and canvas.
Many pieces, like the mixed-media piece done by Joe Colangelo, brought ideas to light concerning the stigma and universal relatability of the mental illnesses that often attack many of us like demons.
Colangelo’s “Reading Test” features a black background with what appears to be a printed standardized test and a pencil pasted to it. After reading the test – which starts on the 22nd question – the viewer will unveil what might be a deeper meaning or what might not be, depending on how the instructions are followed.
A piece titled “Anxious,” by DaisyMae VanValkenburgh features a silhouette of a girl with her hair tied up. Her skin full of nearly illegible script – save for the end where “my life.” can be read clearly.
A series of three acrylic paintings by Alanis Alvarez are titled “I’m Staying Here,” “But I’m Having a Good Time” and “But I’m Having a Good Time Part Two” and they are presented respectively.
The first, “I’m Staying Here,” is a highly abstract piece that is divided in two halves: one on the left with warm colors and one on the right with a lot of white space and all colors, but mostly blue. The words ‘i’m staying here’ are written in black marker on the left side, close to the center of the piece.
The second piece in the series features a semi-abstract woman who appears content. She is surrounded by flowers and placed on a yellow background. In the upper left-hand corner, perhaps in the distance, is something that appears to be a void made up of green and black squiggles, with squiggles coming forth out of it towards the woman.
The third piece, “But I’m Having a Good Time Part Two” features what appears to be the same woman, except she is painted a little more abstractly and seems to be divided into two halves. The left half is in colder colors, and the right half is in warmer colors. She is surrounded by fruit and the expression on her face is sad with a tear. She is placed in front of a background made up of yellow and a large black hole in the center. The emotion evoked by the woman’s face seems somewhat distraught.
“Brave New World” is a painting done on canvas by Nicole Chevalier, who is the campus representative for The Invisible Illnesses. Two hands were sketched. One hand is holding a painted pill bottle. The other hand is receiving pills, which when looked at closely have words written in them. They say things such as “Goodness” “Poetry” and “Real Danger,” but the writing is abstract.
Many pieces were written, which were very interesting to read due to the creative ways they were presented. Particularly interesting was “Untitled 1” by Marie Haaland – a poem in slightly distorted typewriter print.
For sale at the gallery’s reception were bracelets and baked goods; all of the money raised went to The Invisible Illnesses. The exhibit was presented last week from Nov. 6-10 and featured work done by students from all over campus.