Campus Life

Senior Art Students Fill Black Box with Diverse Works

The Baum Gallery is currently showcasing a broad range of works from UCA senior art students, including an interactive material painting, a paper-sasquatch couch, up-close-and-personal photography and plenty of dead bugs.

After a week of transportation, installation and nitpicking over perfect presentations, 14 seniors graduating with Bachelors of Arts degrees were ready for the biannual B.A. exhibition reception. Most had never displayed work in a gallery before.

“It is very scary to put your work out there,” senior Courtney Faddis said. “I see everyone looking at [my pieces]and I keep wanting to walk up and ask if they like it or eavesdrop on them talking about it.”

The graduating seniors displayed artwork encompassing various media forms—oil paintings, charcoal drawings, digital prints and beer bottles, to name a few—at the opening reception Nov. 5.

Each semester, senior art students display their best faculty-committee-approved works from their junior and senior years as a graduation requirement. The exhibition is a B.A./B.F.A. show that includes both art and fine arts majors, but there were no seniors planning to graduate with B.F.A.s this semester.

The students begin narrowing down media forms, styles and statements during their junior year and work with faculty advisers to prepare for the show. Throughout their senior year, students begin submitting their stronger pieces for approval.

Before the exhibition, a faculty committee determines which works are entered in the show. Senior Shelby Horner explained her incorporation of green wool and green felt in her painting “Touch This With Your Face,” which received much attention at the reception.

“It’s based on a psychological disorder called synesthesia,” Horner said. “I have [synesthesia]to a degree where I associate that wool and felt with the color green So you’re meant to touch it and feel it.”

During the exhibition’s first opening reception Nov. 5, over 200 people came to see the seniors’ artwork, mingle with the artists and listen to some live music. Halfway through the event, Art Department Chair and associate professor Jeff Young introduced the artists and announced the two Exhibition Honors recipients: seniors James Spickard and Kerrie Mahoney.

Spickard presented a series of drawings and sculptures framed in shadow boxes, all incorporating cicadas. One sculptural work featured real cicada carcasses that he collected himself. Mahoney presented a photography series focused on body image issues and finding beauty in humanity’s many natural forms.

Prior to the exhibition’s annual unveiling, the art department’s faculty comes together to vote on which students receive Exhibition Honors. In order to receive honors, the student has to earn at least 50 percent of faculty votes, which determines how many students are selected.

“This show has come together beautifully and we are so proud of all of our artists [who have]put so much work into making it happen,” Baum Gallery Director Barclay McConnell said.

Students displaying works this semester and graduating with a fine arts emphasis are John Camp, Chelsea Collins, Tim Ellen, Courtney Faddis, Clint Hargis, Candace Kelly, Mark Kiefer, Mahoney, Sara Perlman, Heather Reinold and Spickard. Students graduating with an art education emphasis are Jessika Hammons, Shelby Horner and Cherie Hughes. Students with an art education emphasis often graduate the following semester, pending assistant teaching requirements.

Another reception will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. Nov. 22 and is free and open to the public. The B.A./B.F.A. exhibition will remain in the Baum Gallery until Dec. 3.

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 11, 2015 print edition of The Echo. 

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