Eyes Wide Open: LBCC Student Art Exhibition fills NSH Gallery

“The Incredulity of St.Thomas (Transgender Jesus),” by student James Harley-Parr is a mixed media artwork currently on display at the Student Art Show at North Santiam Hall.

The LBCC student art exhibition in North Santiam Hall transforms the college building from a place of strict academia into a lively art gallery filled with spontaneous and diverse soul.

The NSH exhibit runs until the middle of May and will have an opening and awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 2, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will take place on the second floor. It features a variety of art works from oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings, to a few collages, ink, and pencil drawings, and even a few ceramic pieces.

The student art exhibition in NSH happens in the middle of the busy lives of students and faculty members of LBCC. In their rush to meet deadlines, arrive to classes, and the pressures of their daily lives, they often tend to overlook the artwork featured in the gallery, with the exception of “The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” (“Transgender Jesus”).

Right when you enter the gallery the first thing you notice more than anything is a large art piece by James Harley-Parr of a blue acrylic painted Jesus wearing a scarf and a tunic made out of collaged paper and featuring a gash on Jesus’s chest.

“I wanted to show transgender people as valid,” said Harley-Parr.

In this painting the viewer is portrayed as St.Thomas, who wouldn’t believe that Jesus was still alive after he was crucified until he sticks his finger in his wound. Like St.Thomas, the viewer is in disbelief of the identity of transgender people until they see for themselves.

Harley-Parr used the color blue for skin color in previous paintings but this time it was to express femininity. Similar to the Virgin Mary, who is often portrayed in Catholicism wearing blue during the Renaissance era, blue was considered a feminine colour.

If you notice, Jesus has no genitalia, leaving the portrait’s gender up in the air. The pose and facial expressions remind me of David Bowie, specifically the song “Space Oddity,” which could almost be heard while viewing intently.

Another exhibit highlight felt like the album by Rob Sonic, “Alice in Thunderdome,” with its dystopian like landscape.

On the other side of the hall from where “Transgender Jesus” is located are three ink pieces by Haily Wells; the middle one is called “Industrial Science.”

Made with micro pens, prismacolor, and copic markers, she used measurement and outlined the subjects with a black pen then colored them in.

This urban landscape is different; it is a city under water, or perhaps a fish bowl with goldfish swimming among the buildings.

“I wanted to include things that are flying, but planes felt redundant,” Wells said. That’s why the goldfish were included instead.

“Industrial Science” shows a dystopia of the city trapped in a controlled environment, the same way a fish bowl is fed and kept alive at the discretion of the owner.

The gallery contains a wide variety of art pieces that makes this place into a diverse gallery. On the first floor there is a deck of cards with the word “Art” written on the back and titled “Say It Isn’t.” It’s a challenge to the audience to define what art is. It seems almost trivial.

In contrast, on the second floor of NSH is a work titled “Suffering,” showing a photo of a lady with her eyes looking away, and her lips painted in acrylic and shaped into a smile. There is more acrylic around her neck forming a noose as a way to show suffering from the conventions imposed on women about how to dress and act a certain way to please social standards.

Artists who are interested in being featured in the next student art show exhibit should sign up for next year. For more information on how to sign up, talk to LBCC art instructor Anne Magratten or the student art gallery coordinators in NSH.




“Industrial Science,” by Hailey Wells showcases her work with pen and she has sold each of her three pieces on display.

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