Seniors Share Inspirational, Innovative Art
Each of the eight seniors whose work comprises the current Flora
Kirsch Beck Gallery exhibition at Alma College has a unique and
personal understanding of the power and purpose of art, but they all
adamantly agree that art is more than something pretty on a wall.
The annual Senior Show, on display through April 21 in the in the Clack Art Center at Alma College, features artwork that the artists feel best represent what they have learned and accomplished over the past four years. The pieces by the senior art majors tell stories, make statements, inspire thoughts and provoke emotional responses.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free and open to the public. For information, call (989) 463-7220.
“Good art has a good story—you can feel it,” says Rejena Smiley of Detroit, who will graduate with an art and design bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in drawing and illustration and a focus on comic book art.
Tecumseh senior Cole Hughes, a double major in Spanish and art with an emphasis in photography, believes that expression and feeling are essential to art and its connection to the artists and the viewer.
“Art is a political statement, a personal statement, or a visual reaction,” he says. “It is another means of communication that can express thoughts, reactions, and feelings as well as the written word.”
The artwork in the Senior Show is diverse in style, tone, theme and context using photography, drawing, digital media, sculptures of various materials, innovative mixed media, paintings, pottery, and other medium forms. They incorporate images ranging from Norse mythology to the landscapes of Argentina to more abstract representations of emotions and contraries to creative interpretations of everyday logos and images.
“This is not a static show,” says Melissa Ager of Royal Oak, who will graduate with a BFA in graphic design. “There is a lot of variety, and our passion is evident from our art.”
Just as varied as the artwork are the artists.
“We are a very diverse group,” says Kyla Crawford of Burton, who is double majoring in business administration and art with an emphasis in sculpture and fabrics. “We have different majors and eclectic interests. Many of us are involved in athletics, fraternities or sororities, and other campus organizations.”
Tony Sigmon of DeWitt, for example, an art education major who specializes in oil painting landscapes, also is involved in athletics and plans on becoming a high school art teacher and football coach. Amber Billman of Farwell, an art major with K-12 certification and an emphasis in 3D sculpture and design, is interested in teaching.
Peter Johnston of Alma, like Hughes, will receive his BFA with an emphasis in photography. He also has created and been involved with film projects and is a member of a campus fraternity. Johnston says that he used to consider photography a fun hobby until he took an introductory photography class his sophomore year. Since then, the hobby “became a much deeper passion,” says Johnston.
Ager and Smiley both say they had similar experiences of discovering and dedicating themselves to their artistic interests. Smiley started her Alma years in the sciences but realized that she needed something more.
“I felt that I had to express myself in a different way,” says Smiley.
Ager was interested in graphic design when she came to Alma, but “I just didn’t know how to do it,” she says. She worked hard and remained devoted to her interest that continued to develop alongside her ability. Her art can be seen on campus posters and the cover of the 2007 edition of the Pine River Anthology, the College’s student literary magazine.
Caledonia senior Sarah DeYoung also is a graphic design major and member of the Pine River Anthology staff. She has been involved with many campus groups and organizations during her four years at Alma, including the Alma Symphony Orchestra and numerous campus ministry activities. After graduating, DeYoung is heading to Princeton University.
The Senior Show provides the artists with more than an opportunity to display their work—it is actually part of a two-semester class that teaches them all the aspects of putting on a show. The students designed the show’s invitation, did all their own matting and framing, planned the Senior Show reception that will occur on March 31, and learned the processes involved in displaying their work, including placing, spacing, hanging and lighting their work.
“It seems like you just put the work up, but you are trying to give things a purpose by where and how they are placed,” says Johnston. “You have to use your visual skills as an artist to make the space work. Ideally, you guide the viewer through the show by its display. It should all be harmonious. “
Posted: Thu, March 29th, 2007 at 2:46PM