Student Artwork Awarded, On Display at Lansing Art Gallery


The Lansing Art Gallery currently is hosting its second annual Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition featuring the artwork of students from across the state, including the work of eight students in MSU’s Department of Art, Art History, and Design, two of whom received awards for their entries.

This year’s exhibition, which is supported by Michigan State University’s College of Arts & Letters and the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, includes the work of 31 collegiate artists and runs from March 1 through March 28.

Gregory Fricker, a Studio Art senior and U.S. Army veteran, took the first-place prize of $500 for his piece, Transmission Error / Something Less Than More, an oil on canvas painting. While Hector Acuna, a Studio Art Masters student, received second place and a $250 prize for Teenage Merit, also an oil on canvas painting.
 

I became a Spartan and, with the help of other Spartans, have forged my weakness into my greatest asset.


“I'm honored by this prize because of my respect for the people who selected me for it; however, I'm more moved by the fact it functions as a sort of litmus test for my chosen path after the military,” Fricker said.

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Fricker retired from the U.S. Army and relocated to Michigan where he is pursuing his love of painting at Michigan State University. His time spent in the military has been a huge influence on his work as an artist.

"I became a Spartan and, with the help of other Spartans, have forged my weakness into my greatest asset,” he said. “If there's a better victory condition for a soldier turned artist, I don't know what it is.”

Fricker’s award-winning painting is from his series which investigates trauma and the degradation context inherent in packaging complex emotional events into simple linear narratives. The series offers depictions of war alongside images of the inane without allowing either to become more or less important than the other. The resulting combination, Fricker says, “subverts its own meaning and is intended to question the reliability of symbolism.”

Fricker says he considers his work to be the contemporary successors to traditional military paintings. “They are designed to discuss war during a time in which the citizens of a country can forget they are at war while enjoying uninterrupted access to all conceivable comforts,” he said.
 

They are designed to discuss war during a time in which the citizens of a country can forget they are at war while enjoying uninterrupted access to all conceivable comforts.


Acuna’s artwork explores the concept of identity shaped by paternal incarceration, divorce, masculinity, and multi-ethnicity in rural America. His work is influenced by personal narratives and imagery within his family.

The artwork selected for the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition is judged by a panel of three jurors and six prizes are awarded. The awards will be presented at the Reception and Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery.

Other MSU students with artwork in the exhibit include:  

  • Jazzmyn Barbosa, Studio Art masters student Tides/Trust That It Is, digital print
  • Lauren Brady, Studio Art masters student – He’ll Sit There Tomorrow Too, oil on paper painting
  • Cheyenne Brooks, Art Education senior – Edges 2, ceramic sculpture installation
  • Ciera McKay, Studio Art senior – 42.3127242-85.644611, photography
  • Andrew Somoskey, Studio Art masters student – G2-P2, oil, latex, and graphite on canvas
  • Emily Somoskey, Studio Art masters student – Holding On/Homemade 1, collage

For more information on the exhibition, see the Lansing Art Gallery website.