Art is in the eye of the beholder.
It is the role of an artist to stretch boundaries and speak to an audience in artistic terms. Northern Kentucky offers the opportunity to fine art majors to complete a BFA, a rigorous concentrated program in art. This program is for art students that wish to enter graduate school and who want a more focused path to their degree. Seniors in the program participate in a senior art show. NKU opened its first of two senior shows Nov 11th.
The show consists of seven artists from various paths of art, ranging from: graphic art, figurative painting and intermedia. Participants in the show included ; Anthony Mercer, Jessica Duvall, Megan Richards, Sarah Eisenman, Kevin Gautraud, Elise Thompson and Frederick Wessel. Each artist had his or her own vision and method in how they brought their concepts to life.
Anthony Mercer is a graphic design major in the BFA program. Mercer explores death and the process we go through to immortalize the deceased. Through the use of graphic design Mercer is asking the question, how do you want to be remembered?
“The idea of death has kept me up at night for sometime now, it is a terrifying thought for me, so for my senior show I wanted to explore the subject of death in hopes I could conquer the fear of my own mortality,” Mercer said. “So with this subject and my graphic design background I focused more on how people are remembered after they die, and I built an environment that would show my thought process behind the subject, and encourage people to think about their own mortality and how they want to be remembered.”
Mercer takes on a journey through time to explore how others in the past have memorialized the dead. Viewers are able to write on the black walls that he has constructed and write down how they want to be remembered.
Jessica Duvall has created a stationary company called Pulp. The stationary explores the concept of special stationary materials that incorporate the whimsical, personal, and intimate with materials that include paper, fabric, and buttons.
“I wanted to revive the idea of personal touches and the meaning behind them,” Duvall said. “I also wanted these to become a remembrance piece. The idea of personal exchange also played a role in my decision making.”
Frederick Wessel, an intermedia art major, documents his time spent with an aftercare organization called International Justice Mission that works with girls rescued from sex slavery in Mumbai. Each work represents a girl that he met and interacted with. Through the use of narratives and interactive sculpture he explores the concept of memory keeping.
“With this specific work my goal was to reflect an event and a characteristic of one of the girls that I met in India in the aftercare home,” Wessel said. “To me they’re portraits as reminders.”
Wessel’s favorite piece is entitled “Soria”. During his time in India Wessel met a young girl who had such a beautiful voice that it stayed with after his time in India. He created an interactive art work that includes a piano seat, which was converted into a musical instrument with hanging chimes, and two spoons which the viewer can use to play the instrument. All of Wessel’s pieces are memory pieces of the girls that he met while in India. Their names have been changed for their protection.
Megan Richard’s exhibit entitled “Design the Brain” explores textbooks and the lack of design that many of them have. By designing her own textbook pages, she explores the concept that educational materials can be informative and design worthy. Richards chose to redesign a neuroscience textbook concentrating on typography, color, functionality and form.
Sarah Eisenman, a graphic design major, reinvented the face of Tewes Farm in Erlanger, Kentucky by redesigning their logo, letterhead, business card and company website. The goal of the redesign is to improve sales of non-turkey products to their current customers.
“The Tewes Farm was excited to have an updated and consistent idenity design that expressed their high quality, homegrown, and all- natural products,” Eisenman said. “I displayed these brand qualties throughout the new design in the look, tone, and feel of the brand. The brand was brought to life in the logo, identity system, advertising, and package design that I created.”
Kevin Gautraud also a graphic design major explores the concept of motion graphics in film by creating a motion graphics company called Bulwark and working with a client to bring a video concept to fruition in HD format.
“My project follows the story of one snowboarder that wakes up in the middle of the woods, digs up his snowboard, and "migrates" to the mountains,” Gautraud said. “ I think this is a feeling that allot of snow bums can relate, to that urge to go board. I tried to parody that and make it into something beautiful at the same time.”
Elise Thompson’s area of focus is painting. Thompson’s paintings derive inspiration from artist George Tooker and Flemish painters. Her show “Lessons” explore themes of insecurity, personal exploration, fears, and relationships.
“It’s kind of like an abstract biography,” Thompson said. “Just things I deal with growing up, finding myself and working through relationships.”
Working with oils, canvas, and panels Thompson has recorded a journey of personal discovery and reflection.
“It’s a form of therapy,” Thompson said. “ It’s a form of feeling accomplished and doing something that I’m actually good at. I feel like I’ve always wanted to do something like this and now I am.”
The BFA gallery show runs from Nov. 11 through Nov 19. The exhibit is located at the Fine Arts building at NKU in the Main Gallery. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9 am to 9 pm.