BA Salon Exhibition

BA Salon Exhibition, Fall 2015

When: December 4 – December 15, 2015
Where: Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, December 4, 6-8:00 p.m.

Gallery Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Monday - Saturday, 12:00 pm. - 6:00 p.m. Sunday
All events are free and open to the public

This group exhibition highlights the very best work from each graduating senior's culminating portfolio.  Both the exhibition and the portfolio are the culmination of each candidate's work toward a Bachelor of Arts degree.

BA Salon Participants

Sarah Adams
Anthony Chavez
Megan Venhuizen

Marley Moreno
Amanda Williams

Alan Sutton

Halima Flynt
Laura Press

Rachael Wilken

Artist Statements

Sarah Adams

Our natural world is a precious entity, some consider it their God. Nature offers us balance to offset the unnatural factions we have put in place. Over several centuries the establishment of industry, the desire for maximum capital and profit have shifted our importance from nature towards materialism. Through the mechanisms that we use to manipulate nature for our gain, we have upset the balance between humanity and nature. Subsequently, a steady degradation of natural resources and species has occurred. This disregard has proven a threat to our own wellbeing, as the interconnectedness between the environment and our well-being cannot be unbound. If we continue to ignore the natural world, and exploit it, we will certainly be agreeing to our own demise.

From an early age I felt personal conviction about my impact and coexistence with nature. I feel that the urgent need for sustainable practices in our world should be taken more seriously. My biggest concern is a tiny insect: the honeybee. Its pollination services and products are so valuable that without them, a great deal of our agricultural system could collapse. Honeybees offer much biological support to humans and plants, ensuring the delicate natural balance we so desperately need to maintain.

My work references symbolic relationships between humans, honeybees, and nature: relationships I deem to be of immeasurable value.  I aim to highlight the duality of beauty and death in these relationships. The honeycomb is a space for bees to flourish and sustain, but is just a skeleton of them once they are gone; an empty comb stand as ruins of a lost colony. Permeance is represented through the honeycomb, and thus inspired it’s repition in my work. In creating work about bees, I hope to extend a form of awareness to the viewer through visual relationships. The juxtaposition between bees and form in my work is intended to highlight the importance of symbolic relationships while also criticizing our unsustainable reality.

Anthony Chavez

My work in ceramics seeks to combine the functionality of pottery with sculptural aesthetics to create a work of art that properly illustrates my content, style, and technique. This is accomplished by combining contemporary techniques that reflect historical reference through deep impressions made into the clay in order to create a sense of erosion or weathering of the clay body. I create the sculptural aesthetic of my pieces by stacking my pieces on top of one another in order to create a sculptural composition out of functional pieces such as plates, cups and bowls. I have chosen simple forms because it allows me to create more complex pieces by using a variety of different techniques in my stacking process. Each one of my pieces is part of a larger sculptural community, and each one is created with patience and attention to detail. Basic forms are what help me in defining my technique and when placed together they create a form that is simple yet complex in its design. I am also interested in making my pieces imbue a sense of dynamic symmetry and subtle undulations in their forms while still maintaining a sense of integral strength and purpose. My creative process to bring strength to the clay while refining the shape and creating texture on the surface. I also fire my pieces in the salt kiln in order to add layers that imbue the pieces with a sense of history and wisdom. This firing process also allows me to draw out the impressions and texture that give my pieces an aesthetic appeal. I am taking the simple forms and techniques that were taught to me early on and elevating them through the use of texture and form in order to commemorate my time in the ceramics program.

Halima Flynt

Photography, as a medium, is a form of communication and can be used as a tool for record keeping and/or documentation, as well as an artistic tool for literal or figurative representation.  Being interested in both has inspired me to explore them independently.  When working outside of the photo-journalistic realm, I enjoy communicating through black and white photography.  Photography is purely the science of light.  In depriving the image, and therefore the viewer, of color, changes in contrast and light become increasingly evident.  I prioritize creating work that emphasizes the beauty of light and exposes its importance and influence on emotion, intention, and perspective.

Abstracts of Foreign Facades is a collection of, high-contrast, black and white images shot on 35 mm film, scanned, and printed digitally.  The images are sharp abstractions of simple architectural compositions that emphasize line and balance and aim to inspire the viewer to observe the natural, compositional beauty in our unique environments.  Highlighting the contrast between the man-made structures and their natural surroundings, as well as, the utilization and characterization of light, were high priorities in this body of work.

Marley Moreno

During this past summer, I spent four weeks studying abroad in South Korea and one week traveling in Japan. I am drawing upon this transformative experience to explore my identity. Through the process of art, can the voluntary retrieval of memories help an individual gain a fuller understanding of their identity following a life-altering experience? This series focuses on the creation of identity using the social dimension of autobiographical memory as a means of organization. Each piece in this body of work is used to convey memories related socially from my five weeks abroad.

My work focuses on the crucial role of autobiographical memory in the creation of identity. Autobiographical memory is memory for one’s own life experiences. It functions to help people socialize, make predictions, plan future behavior, and create identity. The body of work is symbolic and metaphorical, reflecting the true purposes of memory. Instead of drawing from photographs or very specific, concrete memories, I have combined many related memories into each piece. The images resulting from the conscious retrieval of my memories are representative of the search for understanding identity through memory.

Repetitive imagery is used as a symbol for socially related memories. The choice to collage reflects the nature of memory recollection as a complex process, as well as the complex nature of memory itself. Compared to repeated objects and backgrounds, the figure in each piece seems stark. The figure represents identity which is not yet fully understood. While the figures lack facial features or much detail beyond clear contour lines, their body language is meant to show the beginnings of understanding identity following a metamorphic experience.

Laura Press

I grew up imprisoned in a constant stream of my own thoughts.  I know that this is not uncommon, but I reveled in it.  Growing up, I did not have many friends. I have always been solitary, but for the most part, happy. I was the strange kid who never talked and when I did I instantly regretted it. Being alone meant I had to find a way to cope and I did so with humor.  I think that there is an innate element of tragedy to life, and if we, as humans, do not look for the random absurdities that add humor, it would be unremittingly dark. 

When I was just out of high school my dad gave me his old camera, showed me how to use it, and that offered me a whole new way to cope.  I was instantly struck by how honest photography is.  While an image can be manipulated--you can distort it and change its meaning--its core is based on a real thing.  I love that aspect of photography and I want my work to reflect the honesty of life's struggles.   My inner monolog is unique, but relatable. One of the things that connect the comedian with the artist, is that for both to be successful, you need to notice your surroundings,  and think about your inner landscape. Blending comedy and photography is, for me, finding a way to navigate life's doldrums in a creative and personal way, that brings the viewer along and asks them to join in the laugh.

Alan Sutton

As a painter, I fixate on the dialogue between chaos and order by contrasting a loose painterly style with a graphic sensibility.  I’m influenced by the Pop art movement, using delineated elements, such as facial profiles, in a deadpan approach while maintaining a vivid palette. Associating germane unrelated subject matter, involving current personal, social and economic ideals, perpetuating this notion of querying self-identity and consumer culture.

Rachel Wilken

Upon entering my parents home I am immediately confronted by a feeling of welcome inspiration, my grandmothers credenza, and a chunky 2-year-old yellow lab. Ever since I was a child my parents have both possessed an easy, caring way about them. My father is a craftsman in every sense of the word, and my mother is impossibly inspired by the world around her. They raised me to be respectful, kind, and hard working and have truly guided me by example. Even today, when I go home to visit I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of calming when I walk into the house - surrounded by familiar photos and chipped tables. The crafts and beautiful decorations my mom has made, along with the truly stunning woodwork of my dad.

Some of my favorite memories are simply watching my dad work in his wood shop. He taught me everything I ever wanted to learn, and I believe that it was in building birdhouses and little gifts for my mom that I gained his passion for the craft. Even when he didn't know I was there watching, the way he went effortlessly through the motions was striking. The drive and avidity and that my parents possess is what pushes me through life, and more specifically, through my own creative processes. 

My work is not only inspired by, but created for my family. Through the ups and downs that college and life in general have brought on my family has been a constant. When I look at my work I can see the influence of each individual in my life. The simplicity and strength comes from my dad and the effortless beauty in the materials from my mom. The development, the stages of growth each piece goes through before it becomes something more - that is my brother. The balance between aesthetics and function is where I can see the influence of my little sister, she is beautiful and quirky yet level headed and reasonable beyond her years. The unity and time that went into my pieces comes from being part of a huge, crazy, and loving family - being surrounded by that kind of support system has helped me develop a sense of comfort and safety with everything I do. Regardless of what may happen I know that I will always be loved. 

The idea of family, of home to me is what has driven my ideas to create functional and beautiful art. I believe that home is wherever you are surrounded by family, friends, and furniture. Furniture can act as something that simply occupies a space or acts as storage for your many “things”. However, I think that it can be so much more than that. Memories can be made around a kitchen table, in fact that is where a lot of mine stem from. My goal is to create pieces that can be shared with other people in a way that will bring the individuals together. I want to make works that can be passed through generations like my grandmothers credenza. With all of the shifting trends in design today, I believe that there is merit in creating something timeless - and that is what I am working towards. 

This show, all of my work from the last few years, is a thank you to the people who have supported me. All I can say is that I am so grateful, and I hope I make you proud. 

Amanda Williams

Inspired by a personal quest to be more present in my life, art became the means to achieve this goal. Because of the fleeting nature of mindfulness I begin the creation of my art with calming my mind to enable intuition. Intuition can only be accessed effectively when the mind is present and focused. Thus I use this intuition to discover what objects or settings inspire a still mind for me. Through research of history and meaning the significance of the object is reinforced while subtle surrealism further illustrates my concept. During the creation of my artwork, mindfulness and intuition is accessed to select colors and shadings that exude a sense of calm.
I associate presence of mind with stillness and focus. Zen Buddhist practices, images and beliefs have a significant influence in my compositions. Thus my art usually depicts quiet scenes. Taking time to work on the details of the objects I am painting calms my mind and helps me to live in that moment. Having a quiet mind helps me to understand the situations of everyday life more clearly.

Megan Venhuizen

I am inspired by the natural habitats I have experienced, such as the Fijian islands, Europe, North Carolina, and the Appalachian mountains, to use various materials and methods. These include different clay bodies, glazes, and firing processes to create pottery that is utilitarian, aesthetically appealing, and comfortable. My goal is to utilize these many facets to give people a sense of comfort and connection through the pottery they use. 

I am intentional in every aspect of my ceramics because my are pieces are designed to be used and re-used for years. They are not meant to be ignored, admired for their delicacy, or be solely decorative; I want my work to be able to withstand daily life and to convey this sense of endurance to their users. Therefore, I use a heavier hand when I create. In a household that habitually uses dish ware, many are dropped, knocked, stacked, and scraped, and my work must be able to stand strong with even the roughest family so that my ceramics may be found in the home for years to come. Longevity is imperative as my work is intended to bring people together with each other and the pottery they are using. 

Just as each individual is different, each piece in its respective set slightly varies from its counterpart. This is intended to reflect the discrepancies and uniqueness found everywhere in nature and in people. Thus, there is a tension that naturally occurs in my work between these differences and my desire to create series that relate. As this tension is found in life and in all natural environments, it stands to reason that it not only belongs in ceramics but should be preserved through my work and serve to comfort and connect people with their imperfect world.