Senior Art Show showcases spring semester work

The Hillstrom Museum of Art will host the annual senior art show this Saturday, The reception will last from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The exhibit will include thirty-five different pieces of vibrant artwork available for purchase made by senior, Gustie studio art majors.

“It is a great opportunity to purchase beautiful artwork for a low cost,” Director of Hillstrom Museum of Art Don Meyers said. A price list will be available if asked for.

“There will be a wide range of thematic elements on display,” Meyers said. “It amazes me how much creativity is expressed through the student’s artwork.”

Before being displayed, each piece underwent a careful selection process. A jury made up of the faculty in the department worked together to select between one and five works that they deemed “exhibition ready” from each student artist. Familiarity with the students played a large role in the selection process.

“The jury judged each piece qualitatively, in the sense that ‘all’ areas of the artistic process were taken into consideration,” Meyers said.

“We selected works based on artistic merit and what we, as teachers, knew each student was capable of,” Briggs said.

All of the senior studio art majors were required to participate in the exhibit in order to graduate. The process of creating, selecting and pricing works for exhibition helped each students learn what it takes to become an independent artist.

The goal of the studio art department is to foster within each student their own “independent voice,” Kris Lowe, assistant professor in art and art history, said.

“Although there is a lot of direct influence, over the years we try to gradually back off. We want to give the students space to develop on their own. What you hope is that they are becoming more independent,” Lowe said. “By the time the students are seniors, it’s more about critique. I always tell my students that the artistic process is very much about research, development and revision. How close can you get to the concept, and when asked ‘why,’ can you back up your approach?”

“The studio art department has really helped me develop as an independent artist,” Heather Pallas, senior studio art major, said. “Over the years, I have been taught by all of the professors in the department. I feel comfortable sharing my own unique approach to a concept with any of them. I know that I can ask for feedback, but more importantly, however, I know that I will get an honest response.”

Participation in the exhibit, in addition, helped students develop their own “self-evaluation system,” Lowe said.

This occurred through the selection process. Before the jury could select a given work to be exhibited, individual students had to choose for themselves which pieces they wanted the jury to consider.

“There is always this kind of uncertainty that goes with self-selecting your own works,” Lowe said. “You can’t second guess or fully understand what the jury will be looking for.”

Hence, the whole selection process made the students look more objectively at their own work, challenging them to recognize their own artistic weaknesses and strengths as independent artists.

The students’ participation in the exhibit also taught them how to price their work.

“I always tell my students to price your work and raise it with your clients,” Lowe said. “This is important until you have a developed large enough client base. But over the years, it has been rewarding to see that students are really leanring how to price their works.”

While all the works are available for purchase, there are a few that have already been bought by the college. These works received the Purchase Award. For years Gustavus has been collecting student artwork.

“The Art and Art History Department has an endowed fund to purchase student artworks each year. The work selected for purchase is given a Purchase Award, which is an honor. These works are then hung in the Schaefer Art Building or other locations on campus,” Briggs said.

This year three students won this award: David Peterson (Sports and Fitness Editor), Blong Lor and Heather Pallas (Graphic Designer). Pallas found out that she had won the award last Thursday for one of her works called “Congregation.” The piece includes sixty ceramic birds.

“It is a suspended installation piece,” Pallas said. “It is supposed to give the viewer a sense of motion as if the birds are arriving in the gallery.”