The 2015 spring senior art show exhibits artworks of eight senior art students, including Jaysa Alvarez, Natalie I. Bensel, Jasmine K. Davis, Ziania NarvaezGarcia, Brooke Osbourne, Joey Phelps, M. Greg Singer and Sachika Yamaguchi. According to Darren Miller, assistant professor of art and gallery director, this year’s exhibition includes more large scale artwork compared to previous ones.
“This year from the beginning of the semester, it was clear to all of us in the art department that this particular group of students, almost universally, were interested in tackling works that dealt with large scale,” Miller said. “I also want to congratulate all of these students for being very ambitious. They really fill this space beautifully.”
Joey Phelps’s, ’15, final piece is a canvas painting made of five panels.
“I decided I want to do a giant painting focus around these topics: human, cities, technology, environment,” said Phelps, a double major in environmental science and studio art. “The actual physical work took me from the beginning of the semester until now. I was working probably 10-20 hours per week on this painting.”
Inspired by animations of Hayao Miyazaki and driven by his own knowledge from environmental science and his passion for art, Phelps investigates the relationship between human and the environment, and how technology impacts this relationship. In this painting, he dates back to the history and projects into the history.
“There are a lot of stories going in the painting. It is a big convoluted narrative,” said Phelps, “Social isolation mirrors our environmental isolation because as we become more enmesh in this techno sphere, we become less connected to the nature. ”
Jasmine K. Davis, double major in math and studio art, challenges the conventional way of printmaking on papers and creates her work with plastic panels with fiberglass resin on top.
“Normally, you can’t touch artwork in the museum. You can’t really engage with it but you can only look at it and see it from a different perspective,” said Davis. “With the resin, you can touch, feel and sniff it. I really wanted them [the audience] to really understand what printmaking is. ”
With three pieces of printmaking panels, Davis bridges the distance between life and death by creating a sense of cycle.
“A lot of people see life is one instance and death is one instance. I wanted to break up the notion that they are interwoven,” Davis said. “It is the same thing. It is just the stage you are in and you continually to move along into different stages of your life.”
There are three major programs in the art department, including studio art, art history and art and technology. Senior projects of studio art and art history majors include artworks for the gallery exhibition and a 15 to 20 pages of written description and reflection on the process of creating their work.
Students who create artworks are required to meet with their first readers once a week and with their second readers at least twice for the whole semester.
They are also encouraged to meet with other faculty in the department for instructions and assistance.
Based on students’ art proposal and their visual resources, faculty in the art department provide feedbacks along the process of students creating their work.
“How does it engage the viewer, how does it use space, how does it use material, how does it use the light that’s falling across it, what’s the visual effect?” said Miller, “At the end of the day, it’s our job to describe and help them get some distance from the project. Because it’s hard when you’re making something to really see it.”
Miller claims that it is quite common for students to change their minds and evolve their ideas over the time of them making art.
“There’s a hundred solutions, and almost none of them is wrong,” Miller said. “The wrong thing really is giving up or going for what seems easy.”
“This group of seniors that’s graduating this year, I think they are a really hardworking group of bright students who have formed a really vital sense of community here in the art department and they really care a lot about their own work, about each other, about the environment in the art department,” Miller said. “And I’m gonna be sad to see them go because I think that they are people who have a made a significant difference here and I’m really proud of them and I’m looking forward to see what kind of differences they make out in the world.”
Senior art projects are on display in the Bowman-Penelec-Megahan Art Galleries from April 21 to May 8, 2015.