Art seniors combine talents for Art Gallery exhibit

Stacy Sabaitis

As their college careers come to an end, four art students with very different areas of interest have come together to create an exhibit that showcases the skills they have learned at Grand Valley State University.

Their final senior showcase is on display in the Art Gallery inside the Performing Arts Center until April 12, with a reception to meet the artists April 11 starting at 5 p.m. The gallery exhibits all of the student’s different inspirations in a range of art media.

Elizabeth Uitvlugt, an illustration major, created her show based on her passion for cities and people. Her final project is a graphite drawing of a cityscape with people and interactions, along with several separate compositions of those people.

“You can go back and forth and try to figure out who is who in the cityscape, and then you can kind of see how you maybe perceive the people a little bit differently based on how I draw them outside of the cityscape, versus how I drew them on the inside,” Uitvlgut said.

She took her passion for storytelling and was able to incorporate it into her show.

“I really wanted to convey a sense of story when you look at my piece, like I wanted to be able to look at it and be able to imagine more than what I show you, like there’s a whole story and I’m just showing you a snip-it of it,” Uitvlugt said.

Also an illustration major, Jessica Banish took inspiration from personal life experiences to create pieces that viewers might be able to relate to.

Her gallery consists of six illustrations, which include a memorial for her dog, as well as a piece dedicated to veterans and another about death.

The project is very different from what she has done before, she said. And she pushed herself while working on the illustrations to create a final product of her best work.

“I will be the first to admit when I first came to the program, my illustrations were lazy,” Banish said. “I did not put the amount of work in them that they could’ve required, so they’re not bad and they’re not good – well they’re not great.”

And although all art and design students are required to create a senior showcase exhibit, many didn’t look at it as just homework.

“I see it as having definition, and it really is my own inflection of how I think,” said Dexter Dixon, a visual studies major. “So it has— it carries my voice and my thoughts and it’s not just an assignment for class.”

Dixon’s mixed-media project was inspired by popular culture and includes scans from Aqua Man comics, and a video of a toy that Dixon is assembling.

“It’s really multi-media based, there’s sculpture involved, there’s prints, and there’s a video,” Dixon said. “And all of these objects are things I understand to be cultural artifacts and I’ve removed them from their original cultural setting, and then de-contextualized them by placing them in the gallery so that it adds this new meaning.”

The final part of the gallery is by metalsmithing major Nicole Grogg, who switched up the traditional by using many alternative materials in her project.

“So, my show has to do with combining traditional metalsmithing techniques and alternative materials that are sort of coming up in contemporary jewelry and metalsmithing,” Grogg said. “So I mix a lot of things, like rubber or synthetic hair, latex, fibers, along with metals like copper, gold, and then, like, gemstones and stuff like that.”

Grogg has eight pieces of jewelry on display, including necklaces, rings and broaches, which all use different elements to relate.

“They all sort of have the same common theme with sort of alternative material,” Grogg said. “It kind of catches people off guard when they see such weird, raw materials mixed with jewelry and metalsmithing techniques.”
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