Elizabeth Mauldin, senior in fine arts and painting, has shown at the downtown Gallery 1010 twice, but her artwork is never duplicated.
Mauldin said her art reflects her interests in the symbolism used by Renaissance painters. These painters used ugly, less traditional monsters in their paintings to represent flaws in people or society, and Mauldin takes a similar approach. This creates a unique look that makes her artwork stand out among the common modern approach many of her classmates take, she said.
“I like to use the monsters as placeholders for people in awkward situations,” Mauldin said. “They’re sort of disgusting looking creatures and they’re talking to each other. And it’s really awkward. I just enjoy that.”
“I feel disgusting sometimes, so I make them look how I feel I look. They’re sort of self-images on a worst day.”
Gallery 1010 is an exhibition space for current UT art students, faculty, staff, alumni and guest artists and is the only non-profit exhibition space in Tennessee that is fully run by students, according to the gallery’s website.
Mauldin’s work was first featured in Gallery 1010 in October 2011 in an exhibition titled “Unstable Equilibrium,” which was also made up of work by William Warden, senior in studio art. Mauldin had her first solo show at the same gallery last March.
“There’s a lot of competition for the spots,” Mauldin said. “Especially the year I got a solo show, there were even fewer spots.”
The School of Art at UT is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, as posted on the School of Art’s website. Mauldin grew up painting and realized she wanted to pursue art in middle school and said UT’s art program helps students keep their interest in art after beginning college.
“The UT program is very much focused on making sure you’re doing what you want to do,” Mauldin said. “They mold their teaching around that.
“It makes it easier to make sure you stay passionate about it.”
The UT School of Art initiated an Artists in Residence program in 1982. The program brings in practicing artists to teach for a semester, according to Marcia Goldenstein, professor in the School of Art. This gives students a chance to learn from visiting artists who can provide fresh material on class objectives, while getting a different perspective on the art world, outside of UT.
Artists in Residence participants are brought in to teach a junior level painting and drawing class, as well as a senior level seminar. Mauldin took part in these three classes during her time in the School of Art. She worked with artists such as Michael Berryhill, Ezra Johnson and Keltie Ferris during this time.
Mauldin impressed these artists and made many contacts, according to Professor Goldenstein, who has worked with Mauldin during her time in the School of Art. Goldenstein says Mauldin is a very bright, interesting student with great potential for a future in art.
“She just seem[s] like a natural, and students like that don’t come along every day,” Goldenstein said. “She’s enthusiastic and willing to try new things. She tried new things and made them work for her, not to please me or anybody else, but to please her and make them her ideas.”
Mauldin plans to spend time at Yale, where her boyfriend will attend a master’s art program. After building her portfolio, she would like to attend graduate school. She said she is interested in teaching art abroad in the future.
“I like to make things just out of nowhere, but I also like the way the paint feels,” Mauldin said. “It’s a very physical process and a very mental process. At the very least [my art] reflects my need to draw.”