Students, faculty and artists filled the University of Maryland Art Gallery’s open space. Groups discussed the works in front of them, and artists had their pictures taken by their work. Some creators took time to share some tips or reflections on their pieces with passers-by. 

Here and Now: Recent Acquisitions officially opened in the Art-Sociology building Thursday, but the exhibition previewed Wednesday night. The exhibit focuses on recent gifts and purchases for this university’s Art Gallery, made possible by donors and artists. This exhibit in particular sought to highlight women artists and artists of color. 

The introductory panel notes that the exhibit “demonstrates the Art Gallery’s commitment to actively diversify its collections and exhibitions and allows us to bring visibility to previously unacknowledged voices in contemporary art. We hope to further this commitment over the next four years, allowing all members of the university community to see themselves reflected in the Art Gallery’s offerings.”

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As an avid art supporter with little-to-no knowledge of the art realm or community, I found this exhibit beautifully composed. I really appreciated how there was a little bit of everything, and that there were so many mediums represented. Video, photography, stop-motion, painting, drawing, woodwork, sculpture, lighting — Here and Now had it all. 

What was really special was seeing the way that people interacted with each other and the art. When I usually attend an art gallery at a museum, it is often filled with people like me, who don’t know much about art concepts and find it difficult to appreciate it in words. 

But at this exhibition, I watched as students, faculty and other members of the community critiqued and thoughtfully discussed the art around them, even taking pictures of pieces they thought their friends would like.

Some of my favorite pieces included a set of digital prints from Daniela Libertad titled “Mano, ladrillo,” depicting a hand making motions through a brick-like object with a hole in it. The piece has so much movement and thought to it, and the blown-up images show an incredible amount of detail.

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I also enjoyed Linn Meyers’ work, which was very geometric and used lines and points that were painted so meticulously it looked like texture from afar, but up close you could see a dense collection of strokes and dots perfectly arranged on the canvas.

“Havana Twists with Bubble Wrap” by Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz displayed her costume design background with beautifully drawn golden hair and a bubble wrap-textured fabric. Her work is inspired by her Puerto Rican heritage, and her designs “reflect the exaggerated self-adornment of the costumes,” according to the panel accompanying her work.

The exhibit is open until April 7, and the Art Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The gallery is also presenting a video in the atrium titled, “Chip Lord: In Transit,” which showcases video art from the Art Gallery’s collection and presents new video work from the U.S. and around the world. The video will be on display until June 2.