UA hosts art exhibit featuring artists Yevgeniya Baras and Pete Schulte

Rachel Seale, Contributing Writer

A self-titled exhibition, “Yevgeniya Baras and Pete Schulte,” will be on display at the Sarah Moody Gallery of Art on the University of Alabama campus featuring the work of artists Yevgeniya Baras and Pete Schulte until Feb. 24. 

Schulte, a UA professor of art and drawing, said Tuscaloosa is the third stop of a three-venue tour for the exhibition. The show originated at Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York before heading to the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.

Baras is a Russian born, New York based artist whose work has been showcased throughout the country, as well as internationally. Baras is a professor of painting, drawing and art history at the Rhode Island School of Design and Sarah Lawrence College.

Schulte said the two artists had never met prior to the show, although they knew a lot of the same artists and had seen each other’s work. 

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m really honored to show my work alongside [Baras],” Schulte said.

John O’Connor, a mutual friend of Baras and Schulte, had the idea for the exhibit after realizing that the two artists could create an interesting dialogue due to similar resonances. Both artists use abstraction and similar creative processes to create their art works, although their work looks different.

“[There are] interesting moments where there is this weird dialogue. My work is much softer, but Yevgeniya is very physical,” Schulte said. 

Baras uses colorful, textured paintings to explore abstract art, while Schulte creates modern drawings that evoke the same conversation. Baras brightly colored paintings bring out the subtle exploration of chromatic colors in Schulte’s abstract work.

The two artists even use different mediums, with Schulte primarily using graphite, ink and paper to create his drawings, and Baras using oil and wood on canvas.

Both of the artists’ work create an interesting conversation that examines the differences in meditation and color throughout the display.

“I think they were seeking for the work to have a visual conversation,” said William Dooley, the gallery director for the Sarah Moody Gallery.

Dooley said the artists’ work deserve a close viewing to understand the balance between the styles.

“[Baras and Schulte] both have extensive curatorial and artistic experiences so their curatorial expertise came into play, which I think is reflected in the selections they gathered for the show,” Dooley said. 

Schulte said he was an unlikely person to become an artist. His father was a basketball coach so he learned hand-eye coordination from him, but Schulte said he was always preoccupied with creative things and used music as a creative headspace. 

“Music was definitely my gateway drug into art. It elevated me and could affect me emotionally and it completely rearranged my reality,” Schulte said.

Schulte said art asks the viewer to approach things they don’t initially understand, but if they open their minds and hearts, then a level of empathy can be created, which is something the world needs.

“The great thing is that unlike an engineer or architect, [artists] get to kind of defy logic and rational thought. And without being confined to that, that opens up the possibilities tremendously,” Schulte said. 

Kat Murray, a second year graduate student studying printmaking, said she visited the exhibit with her graduate critique class and found it compelling. 

“I definitely like the juxtaposition between the two artists. The different practices seem so different so it’s really interesting to see how they are relating to each other in the space,” Murray said.

Murray said the final show was interesting because of Schulte’s clean and crisp art interplaying with Baras’ expressive and adventurous artwork.

“There are different ways to finish artwork, and it’s really interesting to have two dichotomies next to each other,” Murray said.