GVSU art students create senior exhibition show

GVL / Courtesy - Kate Pershon
Senior BFA show Opulence

Kate Pershon

GVL / Courtesy – Kate Pershon Senior BFA show “Opulence”

Carmen Smith

Drawing from high fashion, couture style and feminist undertones, Grand Valley State University seniors Emily Karsten, Katie Pershon and Molly Lucille have created their senior Bachelor’s of fine arts show titled “Opulence.”

Opulence will be held in the University Arts Gallery in the Performing Arts Center on the Allendale Campus from Monday, Nov. 14 to Thursday, Nov. 17. The artists will be hosting a closing reception on Thursday night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. allowing visitors to talk with them about their work while enjoying some light refreshments.

The show is divided into three parts, representing each individual artist. Karsten is in the metalsmithing program, and her part of the show is called “Renascent,” focusing on shell jewelry with an emphasis on couture fashion.

Pershon puts an emphasis on visual studies, naming her part of the show “Mythos” which is based off of Greek mythology. Her section will include performance pieces and metal work about how Greek and Roman myths have influenced women’s place in society.

Completing the trio is Lucille, who also specializes in visual studies. Her part of the show is called “Lucile” which features a video installation piece highlighting gender issues based off the history of theater.

“It’s a continuous feel with obvious feminist undertones, but we also all draw from that high fashion, theatrical, historical kind of perspective,” Lucille said. “There’s a lot of very charged images and a lot of spectacular images. That’s why we called it ‘Opulence.’ They’re all over the top in a way.”

All of the artists said this show showcases all of their hard work over the past few years. This BFA show is a starting point for them as it’s their first time presenting specific themes that they’ve been working on and evolving over the past few years in a professional setting.

Pershon said a clear path is now being formed that’s directing them to where they need to go next as artists with the forms they have.

“It feels like such a big deal to all of us, because it is our senior thesis,” Lucille said. “There is a lot of pressure on it for us, but also it’s been such an empowering experience to have a professional caliber show. We’re all really proud of the work we’ve done. I really think we view it not as a student show but as our first venture into the professional world.”

“Opulence” presents the use of various unique mediums. With the exception of a few photographs, there is very little 2-D work. Channeling inspiration from Marilyn Minter, Alexander McQueen, J.H. Williams, medieval armor and different aspects of couture fashion and feminism, “Opulence” exposes relevant topics in modern society.

“I think it’s going to be a little bit unusual for a senior show because we’ve been really cohesive and we really want to start the semester off with a bang,” Pershon said. “We’ve been very thoughtful with how we display things, and we hope that people will come in and be inspired by it.”