Dipping his hand into a jar of Vaseline, UF art student Zac Thompson covers his lanky upper torso as if he were using sunscreen, thick enough to shine in the sun.
For further protection, the 21-year-old UF drawing senior wraps his head in plastic wrap.
He then takes a white T-shirt and stretches it over his head. He twists his body inside the shirt until he has the position he wants and sits on a foldout chair in his backyard. His head presses against the shirt, casting an expressionless face into the fabric.
A classmate smothers his frozen figure with sticky, white plaster. He wears the gunk until the mold is dry enough to take off, grabs another shirt and repeats the process, contorting into different positions.
Those plaster molds now accompany his work in the the Gallery at the Reitz Union as part of the “Quarantined” exhibit he and two classmates put together. The exhibit, which is on the second floor near the main stairway, runs through Dec. 5, and the opening reception is tonight from 7 to 9 p.m.
“For me, it’s because I think too much,” Thompson said about what makes him want to pull his shirt over his head. “That’s where it came from: things in life being overwhelming where you want to revert back to a day when you were a kid.”
Dounia Bendris, a 21-year-old UF drawing senior, and Hannah Dwyer, a 21-year-old UF printmaking senior, are also featuring work in “Quarantined.”
“We all just kind of make work that is based around the idea of isolation,” Dwyer said.
The exhibition depicts themes of loneliness, removal from society, uncomfortable situations and feeling mind trapped.
“I see it, instead of keeping something in ... as that idea of being isolated or being quarantined in your head,” Bendris said.
One of her drawings shows a woman sleeping with a breathing mask over her mouth inside a darkened room, something she saw in a dream. She sketched this piece first using charcoal and then used her fingers to smudge the thicker, darker lines into shadows. Her fingerprints slide throughout most of her work in the gallery.
All three artists will be at the opening reception to talk about their work. Additionally, selected works will be for sale for those interested in purchasing art. Free food and drinks will be provided by Reitz Union Board Entertainment.
Bendris said outside perspectives are important to artists.
“I have in my head what I want people to think,” she said. “But I want to hear what they think.”
A version of this story ran on page 8 on 11/21/2013 under the headline "Art students ‘Quarantine’ work in Reitz Union Gallery"
Zac Thompson and Hannah Dwyer hang a drawing for the “Quarantined” exhibition inside the Gallery at the Reitz Union. The opening reception is from 7 to 9 p.m., and their work will be on display through Dec. 5.