Monday, May 29th, 2017

BFA exhibition celebrates student art

Posted on April 22, 2017 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

Kelly Scrima
Kelly Scrima

By: Jordan Castaldo, Free Press Staff

The 2017 BFA & BA Exhibition is the celebration of exhibits done by graduating USM Art Department students obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Art degree. Displayed at the USM Art Gallery on the Gorham campus, the exhibit features work from various artists, including Melissa Bardsley, Rachel E. Church, K. Scott Davis, Kayla Frost, Richard Hudon, John Allan Nelson Jr., Hans Nielsen, Jill Osgood, Shannon Sockalexis, Isobel Stanton and John S. Wilson. The event features the finished work of these students done in the senior seminar course, ART 401. The art is on display at the gallery from April 12 to April 30.

Each piece in this exhibit highlights unique parts of the artists’ lives. One artist created work to help her understand her relationships with herself, her parents and their parents through objects that represent their connections. Rachel Church’s first piece, Inheritance, includes fishing lures that belonged to her grandfather, who even used them with Church’s father. Though suffering from Alzheimer’s, her grandfather still took her father out on the family boat to fish with these special lures. Her father gave her the lures to create artwork with, but only if she returned them back to the boat. Her second piece, titled Passed Down, was a piece that depicts how sewing has been passed down through generations of women in her family.

“I find it interesting that Passed Down not only documents the passing down of sewing knowledge in my family, but also how the reasons for sewing have changed over time in our culture,” Church said.

Another student artist, Melissa Bardsley, has three pieces in the show, titled The Drip, The Process and The Solution. The Drip was installed over a window in order to get the most out of natural light. The Process experimented with a variety of different colors, and The Solution shows how orbs of lights interact with each other. Bardsley liked her last two pieces because they reminded her of her thought processes, relating it back to a significant part of her life. Seeing the colors in The Process helped her to realize that the art was a visual representation of the many thoughts circulating her mind, of all different maturities, whereas The Solution represented more of a single thought.

“Being part of this show has been a wonderful way to wrap up an experience that has helped me grow and prepare me to be a professional artist,” Bardsley said.

Jill Osgood has been inspired by her two years of strolling through the trails of the Gorham woods. The Gorham woods consist of 13 acres owned by USM that Osgood has spent a large amount of time in. All of her work has been based off of those walks and the two years of observations she made while walking. Osgood’s work expresses her love and care for nature, helping the viewers to understand that nature is a significant part of her life.

“My fellow students have been a big inspiration for me,” she said. “USM offers a unique and personal art department that I have really enjoyed being a part of.”

Osgood, along with her fellow peers, have nothing bad to say about the 2017 BFA and BA Exhibition or about USM’s Art Department.

Isobel Stanton, another involved artist, included an open love letter to her partner of four years. The piece, titled Dear Jayme, included photorealistic drawings of the photos she has sent him over the course of these years.

“The installation includes four framed self-portraits and a drafting desk upon which more drawings have been pinned alongside letters I have written him over the years,” Stanton explained.

The whole point of her piece was to allow us to questions the idea of privacy, along with the idea of intimacy in this technological age.

This exhibit proves to be a challenging, yet meaningful project to all of the artists involved.

“From my perspective, the BFA/BA Exhibition serves as a transition point from student to emerging artist as the student prepares a body of work for professional exhibition,” Carolyn Eyler, curator of the BFA & BA Exhibition, said.

The student artists incorporated deep and meaningful parts of their lives into their projects. Whether it was an open love letter to the person they loved or the celebration of an object passed down through generations, this exhibit showcases students’ hearts and souls. These artists verify, through the happiness they felt being a part of this project, that art is a beautiful way to express the meaningful, unique parts of their lives.