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ASU art students share snippets of their life at 'In The Moment' exhibit

Twelve art students share pieces of their life and the beauty of the ordinary for a limited time at Harry Wood Gallery

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“In the Moment,” an ASU Student Group Exhibition held at the Harry Wood Gallery on the Tempe campus, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

In a post-pandemic world filled with chaotic news, an ever-changing economy and new technology arising, people are realizing the importance of living in the now, an idea that serves as the inspiration for ASU's "In The Moment" art exhibition. 

The premise of the exhibit is to allow artists to break down moments in their daily lives, whether they are key moments or just small, fleeting memories and show the essence of these moments and why it's important to capture them.

All of the artists in the exhibition met through a shared oil painting class last semester with Mark Pomilio, a professor at the School of Art. Pomilio's students were encouraged to apply for the exhibit and from the applicants, 12 were chosen to showcase their work. 

"Everyone bonded, we all have different styles and techniques, and we are all at different playing fields," senior art student Natalia Merdick Lopez said. 

Lopez shared about how she and the other artists joined the exhibition. "Everyone has their own idea of what 'In The Moment' means, whether that be something attainable or something imaginative," Lopez said.

Because of their various backgrounds as well as their different educational paths, the chosen students created their pieces for the exhibit with drastically different techniques, all in order to showcase their own ideas of living “In The Moment.” 

Lopez’s pieces specifically are made on bristle board with acrylic paint. Her artwork showcases a prickly pear cactus on fire, and another piece when the fire has gone out and is smoking, as a way to appreciate the beauty of nature seen in Arizona. 

"I try to create worlds that are dreamlike. I tried a pop art sort of style with this piece, with a lot of detailed linework and color," Lopez said.

Devin Dawson, a junior studying art education, showcased a mixed-media piece using different oil paints, depicting her mom and grandfather on her mother’s wedding day. 

"It’s representative of pure love that can not be verbalized in a conversational manner," Dawson said. "I wanted to find parallels between my materials and my style of art. My art style is a lot like drawing in the sand–I just created my project with pure intuition."

A number of the exhibitors took work inspired by their hometown as a way to appreciate the idea of being "In The Moment." 

Charles Grimes, a junior studying art and a sand landscape painter from Minneapolis, Minnesota, used his pieces to represent his hometown and the beauty of its nature. 

"I created two paintings that were both inspired by Grand Marais, Minnesota, a place where my family and I camp every year in the summer. I created these paintings through a glazing process of layering thin washes of oil paint to create a luminous landscape scene."

"I’ve never had a strong family bond growing up, I’ve always been closer with extended family and friends," said Tyler Sullivan, a junior studying painting and drawing. "Moving away from my hometown and leaving my friends behind, I’ve just been missing them a lot lately. So these last few pieces have been me painting my friends and the crazy things we used to do."

Sullivan practices more of a surreal art style. In this specific instance, Sullivan used a wood canvas and acrylic paint. Sullivan crafted two pieces for the exhibit: a collage-style oil painting of him and his dog, as well as a painting of a train, both of which exemplify Sullivan's message of celebrating the small moments of life and appreciation of his hometown. 

"It gives me a little reminder of what I have back home," Sullivan said.

The driving motivation of the exhibit is to encourage audiences to live in the moment. These ASU art students created different pieces celebrating the beauty of the mundane, everyday life, all with different messages they want to leave with the exhibit viewers.

"I hope the audience appreciates the work and realizes the beauty in single moments of time," Grimes said. "So often do smartphones and the internet cloud our view of reality, making us rush through seemingly mundane scenes. However, as artists, we see the beauty in everything and the importance of slowing down our lives to appreciate the smallest moments."

Sullivan said it's important that audiences derive that sort of visual pleasure from the exhibit. "My pieces have a sort of humor embedded in them. I want people to look at my pieces and relate to them."

"I want people to get lost in the color and the detail and just visualize that space in your own reality and interpret what I made however you see fit," Lopez said. 

For Lopez, the priority is that audiences both enjoy the art and really take in the message of living "In The Moment."

The exhibit will be showcased for a week, starting March 21, at the Harry Wood Gallery, in the Art Building on the Tempe campus. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. 

Edited by Claire van Doren, Jasmine Kabiri and Anusha Natarajan.

Reach the reporter at and follow @ShiBradleyTWT on Twitter. 

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