2021 Undergraduate Art Exhibition and Scholarship Competition
The 2021 Undergraduate Art Exhibition and Scholarship Competition will be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from March 22nd through April 1st. The John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Andrew Nordin acted as the juror for this year's exhibition. Andrew earned an MFA in Painting from San José State University in California. He currently teaches art and curates the galleries at Ridgewater Community College, and teaches painting courses at the University of Minnesota Morris.
Students who had artwork accepted into this year's exhibition include: Stephen Aifegha, Ethan Anderson, Kate Brown, Jennifer Bulak, John Bybee, Sara Chipman,Abigail Christensen, Kristol Coker, Jeff Davies, Danielle Devlin, Sierra Fry, West Goldie,Rebecca Harkness, Helen O’Hara, Mariah Larson, Emily Mebane, Brenna Miller, Dana Rasmussen, Selena Torres,Mary Unger, Evelyn Vollmer, and Aymee Wolanski.
Jurying an exhibit of artwork is typically a challenging, although fulfilling task for any artist and/or curator, yet being a juror during this Covid pandemic has further complications to consider. Myself, I am being thoughtful and deliberate with my day to day actions, in my teaching, and communication, and creativity. That same notion of creating breathing space is evident in this exhibition.
There were certain ideas that came to surface after my initial viewing of the work submitted. Whenever I am entering an institution and viewing work that I am not familiar with, it takes some time to get a bearing on what the commonalities and contrasts are within that creative community. My focus was to see where, and how, the dialogue was being activated, and to that end, what comes to the foreground. As a visual artist and educator, Craftsmanship is something that I lean on in order to understand the dedication of the artists I am viewing. Overall, excellent craftsmanship was a hallmark of the work selected, and is immediately evident in the 3-d works selected, such as Bulak’s “Forgive me Father”, and Coker’s “Jack is back”.
Appealing Aesthetic and Conceptual choices are the next things to consider, and Chipman’s “Washcloth and Soap” was a piece that fit that idea of innovative conceptual dialogue, as did Mebane’s tulip vases. Undeniably, awareness of Materiality and interest in Construction permeates the work on view, and Bybee’s work and Unger’s “Reflection of Home” come to the forefront.
Observation of Self and Community is a principle strategy utilized within the art shown; from Brown’s “Tattoo”, Fry and Goldie’s portrait works, as well as Stephen’s figurative paintings, that deftly raise the temperature of the expressive initiative in the works shown here.
College art juried exhibits also have to feature works that “push past” coursework assignment prompts, Transcending the learning objectives and navigating towards an original voice. From painting to digital design, textile and metalwork, printmaking and drawing, the work from Idaho State University’s art department does just that. Thank you for persevering through this unsteady time, as it is the creative thinkers of today that will be shaping our better tomorrows.
Grounded: Rachelle Cooper's M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition/Installation
Grounded: Rachelle Cooper's M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition/Installation willl be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from April 12th through April 22nd. The John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building room 105. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Victoria Langley's B.A. Thesis Exhibition
Victoria Langley's B.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from April 12th through April 22nd. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Joyce Ignites the Universe: A Photographic History - Iris Gray' M.F.A. Thesis
Joyce Ignites the Universe: A Photographic History, Iris Gray's M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from March 22nd through April 1st. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Queer... William Bybee's M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Queer... William Bybee's M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from March 1st through March 11th. The John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building room 105. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Britney Knighton's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Britney Knighton's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from March 1st through March 11th. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
With my work I want people to feel the emotions that come from what we feel as human beings. I have been single more times than I like to admit. I remember the emotions I felt from the breakups. The ups the downs, the pain I felt with heartache. Do you understand the emotions of a single mother? Happy, sad, angry, and mad. I am part of that category; I found myself in a spot I never imagined I'd be in. Divorced, alone as a single mother with two handsome boys. I had to let go of a dream I had imagined. I Had to learn to let go of what was. Like the heart I had to be resilient to pick myself back up with every heartache. The Heart is a Muscle and like normal muscles in order to come back stronger they must stretch and rebuild. So, I myself with every tear I had to learn how to pick myself up not as the same person I was. But as a new version of myself. I had to learn to be independent relying on myself with no man by my side. I had to be the man in my life. I had to be the provider and work 2-3 jobs when my ex can’t hold one for very long. I've always thought of myself as the Tomboy tough girl but there have been times when I don’t feel that way. With my art I hope that you can feel some of the things I have felt. Art is a way I express what I am feeling it releases those emotions and puts them into my pieces. I love being able to sit down and let the world turn around me as I get lost in my own little art world.
Britney Knighton's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
21st Century Africa: Stephen Aifegha's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
21st Century Africa: Stephen Aifegha's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from February 16th to February 25th. The John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
My name is Stephen Aifegha, I was born in Lagos state; the western part of Nigeria often known as the New York of Nigeria, due to its metropolitan structure backed up with the daily hustle and bustle. My artistic practice is influenced by my identity and culture as an African, being born and raised in Nigeria; however, I like to identify myself more as African than “Nigerian”.
I am a mixed media artist who uses original African fabrics and newsprint as a major element in my art. The African fabrics are used to show my identity and also give an insight that my subject or narrative concerns issues regarding the African continent and its diaspora, the newsprint, on the other hand, is used to make social commentary, statements that define the politics and narrative of my artistic expression.
My subject matter and narrative as a mixed media artist centers on historical, social, and cultural issues that concern Africa regarding cultural syncretism, identity issues, culture clash, and pride. My art is a sort of activism regarding these problems and issues faced by the continent of Africa. It draws back to pre-colonial and post-colonial setbacks that have caused tremendous distress for Africa today.
I'm motivated by my pan-Africanist identity and beliefs which make me seek deeper meaning in my roots and origination, not only as a "negro" but as an African, as an African thinker, who now lives in the diaspora as I begin to develop an interest in issues related to culture, tradition, existentialism, and history as a primary source of inspiration towards making art. Pan-Africanism is, however, the principle or advocacy of the political union of all the indigenous inhabitants of Africa. It is also a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent. So, therefore, this movement has influenced my art and is a major influence in my artistic practice.
21st Century Africa: Stephen Aifegha's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Gabriel Mayo's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Gabriel Mayo's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from February 16th to February 25th. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is ope6n Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Storytelling is interesting to me, specifically telling a story through scenes and world building. For example, the painting The Calamity From the Sky is a depiction of a meteor plummeting towards the ground. This could be potentially an event that has happened or will happen and I am painting the uncertainty. Currently a large portion of my work is focused on the form of landscapes while my drawings tend to be more figurative. While there is overlap of these subjects (land/figure) between both mediums, I have recently focused on landscapes when painting and figures while drawing. I believe paint and color more accurately depict an emotional space for the viewer than line, mainly due to how vivid and intense color can be with paint as well as the textures that I can make.
A major influence on my work is video games. I love exploring, interacting, and experiencing a story in fictional worlds (at least in my favorite games), so in my work, I seek to make my own world. While it may not be nearly as interactive as a video game is, I want to invoke similar feeling of immersion that a game can create, mainly the feeling that you can get when exploring a game world and realizing that you have walked into a tough area. This experience can lead to many reactions, but two notable ones are, “I need to get out of here,” and “I’m ready for this.”
Gabriel Mayo's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Brenna Miller's B.A. Thesis Exhibition
Brenna Miller's B.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from February 1st to February 11th. The John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Brenna's Artist Statement
My work reflects the relationship between humans and the natural world and how we are intertwined while simultaneously disconnected from nature. I believe humanity is in a constant struggle searching for a sense of self.
Many of us are trapped in individual sized vacuum chambers, inhibiting the ability to see the beauty that is around us. The same beauty that surrounds humanity that is slowly being diseased is capable of showing its own inherent value. A true characterization of a sense of self is to share the desire to either protect what is left of the world or slowly let it decay. It becomes easier to focus the lens when trivial matters are thrown to the side, even if momentarily. Sustainability for earth is not only the best answer to save the natural world; it's the only option we have. Sustainability is both an individual choice and a movement that involves political action, education, and a societal paradigm shift.
The question I am asking in the work is, “is our sense of self genuinely built around how others perceive us, by our activities, passions, and personal pursuits? Or, rather, are we defined by our unwavering moral appetites, abilities to advocate, and hunger for revolutionary change?” The wrong questions are being asked when the search for a "sense of self" begins. The responsive and obvious question becomes, "who are you when life falls apart, when nobody is watching, when the choices you make are not about how you dress, how you politically affiliate yourself, your religion, or who you are associated with, but rather the individual resolve that is unwavering to what truly matters? It's time to forgo one's identity to find one's worth. Identity is nothing more than a platform in which people feel institutional validation. My work pleads with the viewer to put nature, morality, and humility on a pedestal so we can ask ourselves, "What can we do to help each other help the world?"
Brenna, B.A. Thesis Exhibition
Mary Unger's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Mary Unger's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from February 1st to February 11th. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
Mary's Artist Statement
Everything around me has insipiration within my art, which is evident in the work that I have created. I enjoy variety and improvisation when creating work and trying new methods to create a piece of art is what helps me excel in my art career. I experiment with all of my work and accept different outcomes and techniques as a fun way to create. With my figurative painting and drawing I was inspired by Lucian Frued’s artwork and how he used heavy brushstrokes and little refinement to create an expressive form. This technique creates a visible texture in painting or drawing that I am very fond of.
Emotion is also important in all my preferred mediums such as painting, drawing, or even printmaking. I think how the human psyche processes emotions is something that fascinates me. My desire to better understand this topic is also evident in my work. A good example of this is Feeling, a figurative drawing that combines India Ink and Graphite to portray a very tired feeling, which is what I know is an emotion a lot of people understand. I make my art by searching for and bringing out hidden emotions in both the viewer and what I create, as well as exploring unconventional and underlying emotions that exist inside us all while creating a mental conversation between the viewer and my artwork.
Mary Unger's B.F.A Thesis Exhibition
The Sacred and the Profane: Helen O'Hara & John Bybee's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
The Sacred and the Profane: Helen O'Hara & John Bybee's Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the John B. Davis Gallery from January 19th through January 28th. Thed John B. Davis Gallery is located on the main floor of the Fine Arts Building and is open from noon to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Helen O'Hara's Artist's Statement
Why do I want to be an artist? It’s complicated. I see things – in dreams, visions, imagination – that I can’t explain, and I see through people in ways I can’t describe – with words. I sense situations and relationships that can only be defined by color, texture, line and shape. Painting is hard, but talking about what the paintings mean is even harder, because once they are finished, they speak for themselves in their own language. And what they say is often very different from what I felt, thought or intended while I created them. They are like offspring with minds and agendas of their own. When I look at them, I see layers of attitudes, beliefs, emotions and failures that inter-penetrate like a glacier moving silently through the water.
I am painting interior landscapes and the people that live there. Painting pushes me past my comfort zone and makes me look at what I am seeing – and if I am satisfied with it. It forces me to do something – to make a move, a gesture, a connection. Painting is what I look like when I am trying to communicate – like it or not.
John Bybee's Artist Statement
My work focuses on the exploration of dichotomies. These explorations include the differences between the worlds of the metaphysical verses the physical world and playing with gender roles and sexuality. I like to explore the spaces in-between as well as the places so extreme that they are outside traditionally accepted norms. I love to embrace and highlight what society wants to cover up and hide away. These Queer spaces are where I feel most at home.
My work is heavily influenced by artists including George Platt Lynes, Tom of Finland, and Robert Mapplethorpe. I think of myself as following in their footsteps. Like these artists, much of my subject matter addresses subversive narratives about the human condition. I try to break down social-political views that hold back marginalized voices. I try to help give those voices a platform that is at least equal if not louder than those that try to suppress them.
Making art is a way to allow my soul to sing. I enjoy sharing my soul song with others. While my work branches out into many mediums, most of my work balances on the intersection of fiber arts and jewelry arts. I have a passion for the color, play and experimentation opportunities that these two media provide.
Life isn’t always pretty and art isn’t just about being pretty. Art should stir our emotions. I want my viewers to have strong emotional responses to my work, no matter what that response may be. If they are thinking about my work for days, weeks or even years after viewing then I have succeeded at my job as an artist.
Dana Rasmussen's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition
Dana Rasmussen's B.F.A. Thesis Exhibition will be on display in the Compartment Gallery from January 19th through January 28th. The Compartment Gallery is located on the 4th floor of the Fine Arts Building room 408. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6:00 pm.
There are millions of people today who suffer from anxiety and depression. Often, those afflicted struggle to survive them. My work is concerned with these disorders and focuses on coping and healing. Much of my work intertwines my own personal experiences and struggles with those of the broader population.
My work primarily uses astronauts to help represent this. They symbolize potential. Potential to grow, to learn, to become more adventurous. The reflective glass of the helmet allows the viewer to put themselves in the astronaut’s place. After all, the face is hidden, anyone could be underneath the suit, including the viewer. Experiences are represented by the other astronomical objects. Planets, constellations, and stars all come together to grow the viewers understanding and create a more positive narrative around these disorders.
This body of work features a wide range of mediums. I create digital paintings, sculptures, and fiber media. What ties all of these different mediums together into a cohesive narrative is the color. I almost exclusively use analogous color palettes to capture the harmonious feel of healing and inner peace. I use this to send the message that recovery becomes much easier when one stops fighting against the coping mechanisms and work with them.
I also use the quality of lines to create a sense of calm. Many of the lines presented in my work are gentle, flowing marks. They make up everything, even softening the more jagged edges into light curves and dulled points. Recovery has no room for the harsh lines that depression and anxiety are known for. It takes a soft, gentle approach. Only then can one truly begin to heal.