On Thursday, a new arts showcase took up residency in The Art Gallery (TAG) in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The “Synthesis” exhibit is a collection of artwork by six graduating seniors in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at UWF. This selective program is one for which students must apply and be accepted.
For these students — Andrew Adamson, Kenneth Jordan, Evan Glenny, Elizabeth Guerry, Abigail Harrell and Colleen Jennings — this is a finale of sorts to their artistic career at UWF. “They typically have two years to create a body of work that is essentially their thesis,” said Gallery Director Nicholas Krogin. “I’ve had the opportunity to watch them begin from sophomore level. I’ve had the chance talk about their ideas and their concepts, and what the best way to communicate their ideas is.”
The graduating seniors come from various backgrounds, and each brought unique perspectives to the exhibit. Jordan said it was his desire to “bring back poetry through the visual materialization of psychological isolation and desensitization of sensuality.” He did this through elaborate oil paintings that grace the walls of TAG. Adamson used ceramics in his works that he described as “ambiguous narratives based on past experiences.” Jennings tackled issues of the environment with her exhibit “Products That Ruined the World.”
After working for more than a year on their artwork, it’s no surprise that the artists are passionate about their work. Gurry used her section of the exhibition as a tribute to a grandparent and how dementia has impacted her family; hence the title of her project, “Nana.” She created drawings that represented memories in the human brain.
Harrell’s exhibit, entitled “Made Up,” is project that focuses on makeup usage and the societal beauty standards for women. She was photographed numerous times with varying degrees of makeup in order to show the different standards of beauty that exist in society. “I wanted to do a project based on how people perceive me. I believe that people have different definitions of the word beauty. It’s different for every culture.” Harrell said. “I wanted to emphasize that, because people put too much emphasize on how they look.”
Glenny used her piece of the gallery, “Moist Fur,” to discuss concepts of gender, sexuality, brutality, and discomfort in a way that grasps the viewers’ attention. “I am transgender, and I’ve been struggling with that for a long time, and I don’t typically do personal work. It’s autobiographic for me, and I hope it goes well.” Glenny also said that the characters and imagery were chosen “because of their relationship with aggression, masculinity and the artificial selection that has rendered them all functionally impotent.”
Overall the gallery gives the seniors a chance to shine and to show off some of the hard work they’ve put into the art program. Thursday’s reception was the opening of the exhibit and had strong attendance.
The gallery also was the subject of praise from those who saw it. “I’ve never been to an art gallery, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s really incredible,” student Kelsey Lee said.
“It’s really intense in here. There’s a lot to take in,” said student Sara Omlor.
“There’s a lot of variety,” said student Courtney Dwhitworth. “We see our own work within the classroom setting, but to see everyone’s work together in the gallery is very cool.”