Ceramic teapots, an artist’s performance and wood carvings gave presence to the Miller Fine Arts Center on May 11, at the opening reception of the 2011 Thesis/Portfolio exhibition “Concentrated Chaos.”
The event, sponsored by the Linfield Gallery and the Department of Art and Visual Culture, began with presentations by junior and senior art majors in the Withnell Commons in front of family and friends. The students explained their influences, progression and style behind their beginning works to their final portfolio and thesis projects.
The artist talks were then followed by a reception in the Linfield Gallery, where the students’ artwork could be viewed up close. For nine of these students, the event marked the end of a collegiate career.
“I’m hoping I can do this for a living,” said senior Amanda Holtby, who has already made a profit selling one of her 25 handcrafted, ceramic teapot sets. “I have several people interested in buying my sets.”
Holtby, one of four students required to create a website for her artwork, in addition to the final project, said she was inspired to create the teapots because they are the classic test of the potter’s skill, integrating the basic elements of a functioning piece. She also described her work as introspective and meditative.
Holtby said she has an idea of how she hopes visitors of her exhibit will react toward her project.
“Ceramics is not deeply philosophical,” she said. “I hope viewers will take away a sense of playfulness and appreciation [for my work].”
Senior Adriana Doust used her education in theatre courses and acting experience in the Linfield Theatre production “Execution of Justice” to perform her artwork. In her piece “Loss of Innocence” Doust confronted her own spirituality and sexuality in front of viewers during the reception, using a knife to cut open a white, pillow and her hands to crush strawberries over the fabric.
“It was more heartfelt than any object could convey,” Doust said about her performance. “It was the easiest and genuine way to convey the message behind my art.”
Doust said she often relies on her journal to resurface emotions that influence her work.
“It helps me reflect on how I felt during a certain time and get back into the zone,” she said.
Junior Ebonee Atkins used the theme of man’s relationship with nature as the driving force behind her collection of pieces titled “TIMBER!!,” which featured two wood-carved pieces mounted on the gallery wall.
Atkins said she wanted to make a political statement with her art.
“It’s about the relationship between man and nature and how we destroy and take advantage of the environment,” she said.
Atkins said she is influenced by land art, the use of natural materials and organic media to make art in nature.
“I like the fact that it will be here forever and it would be interesting to see how it can change or stay the same overtime,” she said.
Other portfolios displayed works centered around beading, photography, video, sewing, paint, drawing and the use of sheet metal and chicken wire to convey diverse personal and political messages.
After listening to the artist talks and viewing the students’ portfolios, senior Emily Hopping found a connection within the exhibition.
“They all look physically very different, but in several of the artists’ speeches they mentioned elements such as identity, memory and the ephemeral which indicates passing and things that don’t stay the same,” Hopping said. “I see an exchange of ideas, but then the artists took those ideas and went in different directions.”
“Concentrated Chaos” will be open to the public for viewing through May 29. The gallery, located in Building B of the Miller Fine Arts Center, is open Monday-Friday from 9-5 p.m. and Saturday from 12-5 p.m.
Felicia Weller/Copy editor
Felicia Weller can be reached at email@example.com.