Senior Exhibition Art Gallery
Ali Fernand – Features Editor
Photos: Sarah Shelton – Photo Editor
Art students highlighted pieces they had been working on in the Buley Art Gallery. The opening night hosted students, friends and family to see what their peers have been working on.
“In this class, you write your artist’s statement on what your art’s about, how you create art and what you want your art to evoke,” photography major James Olvera, a senior, said.
Each student had a plaque alongside their work to explain their goals and ideas for their pieces. All of the students had different goals and ideas for what they wanted to showcase. Each student had their own unique art style and methods of creating their projects.
“I made a series of digital collages that are a mixture of skin agar from photography combined with the use of Photoshop,” interdisciplinary studies major Kayla Cummings, a senior said.
Cummings’ art was based on different parts of nature. It included colorful photographs of flowers and butterflies. They were edited in a way to make her feel more of a fantasy version of nature.
“I’ve always been inspired by nature, specifically, flowers and butterflies, just from their vivid colors and patterns,” Cummings said.
Olvera also used the mode of photography for his work. Though his pieces all featured him as the theme. For his art, he likes to use self-photography to capture different moods and emotions.
“With my self-portraiture, I take the experiences I’ve had, the positive or negative, and I try to find that emotion and each picture kind of instills a very different emotion,” Olvera said.
Though most of his pieces were photographs, he also showed off a painting. This painting was based on one of the photographs that was also displayed at the event. This painting was a display of dealing with mental health struggles. He left room along the edge of the canvas for people to write whatever they wanted to contribute.
Photos and paintings weren’t the only type of art in the showcase. Students had also made sculpture pieces which were displayed in a way where the viewer could walk around to see every side.
“I made a ceramic monster and like a human bust with candles in her head, it’s basically a tea Party setting with cakes and like, teacup and really focusing on the two busts in the cake,” studio art major Alaina Pierce, a junior said.
Her pieces were all part of a whole. It was two monsters at a birthday tea party with there being a full cake and teacups. For Pierce, this was also a way to comment on her own mental health.
“People tend to view their mental illnesses as like a monster is form as it’s like a vile part of you that you shouldn’t really represent or like make it part of yourself,” Pierce said.
The monsters were meant to represent the struggles of mental health. Pierce said her goal was to portray her mental health as something to cohabitate with. Instead of fearing it, she wanted to embrace it as a part of herself.
Art students have been working on this project since the beginning of the semester. The students are all juniors and seniors, making this a big chance to have a showcase before they graduate. This was all a part of the capstone course that art majors take, but students spent much of their free time continuing to work.
“I spent probably 80 hours on this assignment, I’d come in and do the bust from 12 to 10:00 at night,” Pierce said.
Though a semester might seem like a long time, students were working endlessly to get their art just right in time. With an art gallery, students had to be prepared to size their pieces in a way that would fit in the gallery. This awareness makes an already daunting task even more difficult.
“There was also a lot of stuff that went into it, such as measuring the wall space and getting the sizing for your work and if you want it framed,” Cummings said.
For seniors, this is their last big moment to show off themselves before graduation. This is also a moment where they reflect on their time at the university and in the program.
“I would say that if you’re someone that’s considering getting involved in the art program, that you should get involved because you have access to a lot of equipment that you might not have otherwise had access to,” Cummings said.