“We imagine the show as a traditional museum exhibition as well as a celebration,” said Patrick Earl Hammie, a professor of painting and a co-organizer of the exhibition with industrial design professor Cliff Shin.
“The majority of the students have been working over their senior year on pieces that are representative of their creative practices and future careers,” Hammie said. The show “is a diverse portrayal of what we do well as a school.”
It’s also an opportunity for the school to share its students’ work with the larger community and build on its collaboration with the museum, he said.
About 130 students are participating in the exhibition. Most will have work on view, but some will have their work showcased in the BFA catalog – either through the catalog’s design or as published writing by art history students. Each discipline within the School of Art and Design is represented, and a number of students have work that is interdisciplinary, Hammie said. The work ranges from the small and intimate to large-scale pieces that take advantage of the size and scope of the museum, he said.
This year’s show will feature a kiosk for displaying the work of art education students.
Among these is Alethea Busch, an art education student from Morton Grove, Illinois, who built a website featuring her lesson plans for teaching art to elementary and high school students and examples of student work. The website will be displayed on a computer at the exhibition’s kiosk.
One of her favorite lessons is having students create a blind contour drawing in which they make a line drawing of a person’s face while looking only at the person and without looking at the paper.
“It’s really fun and everyone can get to know each other,” Busch said. “The students are making eye contact and having a conversation while they’re drawing. It always turns out really goofy, but it still has a connection to what they’re drawing.”
Sarang Chung, an industrial design student and a native of South Korea, created a design for modular furniture in which a broken part could be easily fixed or replaced, eliminating the need to throw away the entire piece of furniture.
She studied different types of joinery, including a type used in Japanese furniture made only of wood and dovetail joinery. Chung’s design employs joinery that uses no nails or glue and “that is like a puzzle system, that is easy and affordable and user-friendly,” she said.
Chung said she was motivated to minimize household problems so families can spend more time with each other.
Veronica Clements, a painting student from Highland Park, Illinois, is exhibiting three large oil paintings. They are modern takes on 17th-century Dutch paintings, using a palette of bright colors.
Clements recreated a 1663 Jan Steen painting titled “In Luxury, Look Out!” depicting a chaotic household scene, with Clements and five of her friends in the scene. She also has a self-portrait and a modern take on a vanitas painting in which the imagery in the still life symbolizes the brevity of life. Clements replaced images of coins with those of cellphones and an image of a human skull with that of a plastic piggy bank skull.
“The whole thing is kind of theatrical from start to finish. It’s completely composed by me, and that’s the fun part of it,” she said.
Cate Hummel, a graphic design student from Urbana, created a postcard booklet intended to compel viewers to pay more attention to their relationships with other people. Each postcard prompts a viewer to think of a person the image reminds them of and to create a haiku based on the characteristics in the image that remind the viewer of that person. Then they send the postcard with the poem to the person who inspired it.
“Haiku poems are all about observations in the world,” she said. The project “is supposed to be about a moment of pause and reflection about the person you’re thinking of. It’s to get you to associate small moments in your life with the people you love or the people around you.”
Max Rowland, a graphic design student from St. Charles, Illinois, creates work focused on drag arts and queer expression. His work in the exhibition includes fabrics on which he printed images from relief-carved blocks. The images tell a fictional queer origin story with two witches concocting a brew that they spill out into the world, casting a spell in order to create a community.
“You get to see the transformation of frogs into fun, queer figures that become their sisters,” Rowland said.
He re-enacts the story in a video while wearing headpieces he designed to represent each of the witches. Rowland said he wants the work to inspire people to think about creating community and how they do that in the real world.
The exhibition will be open to the public throughout the week. On its final day, Sunday, May 13, Krannert Art Museum will be open to the public from 12-7 p.m. for a final celebration of the work, including a special reception for students and parents after the School of Art and Design convocation ceremony. The exhibition typically draws a large crowd at the Saturday opening and also at the closing reception, when the students’ family members are on campus to celebrate their achievements, Hammie said.
See original story and photographs: News Bureau Release: 2018 BFA Exhibition