SRU art majors ready senior shows

Lockwood, Acker and Robinson, art exhibitors

(From left) Paula Lockwood, an art major from Cranberry; Maggie Acker, an art major from Coudersport; and Jared Robison, an art major from Lyndora, will exhibit their works during the senior art student shows at the Martha Gault Art Gallery. One of Robison’s works is behind them.

April 18, 2016

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Visit Slippery Rock University's Martha Gault Art Gallery this spring and you'll encounter more color than nature's fashion show of yellow daffodils, lavender crocus spikes and rose-hued tree buds.

Ten art majors will exhibit their work during senior shows April 18-22, April 25-29 and May 2-6. Every painting, sculpture, print and mixed media display will tell the audience something about the artist.

Many of the displays combine genres. Summer Weinheimer, an art major from Derby, New York, will present landscape fiber prints during "Living in a State of Nature" from April 25-29. Her opening reception is 6 p.m., April 25.

"Each small, beautiful element in nature creates a larger landscape or site. I am inspired not only by the landscapes, but also by each individual detail," she said. "In this fast-paced world, people tend to overlook the simple and tiny aspects: the sunrises, the flowers blooming, and the water rushing down a river; all seem to be forgotten by the to-do lists and commutes to work. In my series of artworks, a variety of landscapes and minor details were selected to capture the beauty in nature."

Weinheimer started the creative process by traveling to different locations to photograph images of landscapes. She then used the photos to create digital drawings, which were printed on to pronto plates. These pronto plates were then printed on a polyester-cotton blend fabric.

"The fabric allows me to manipulate the dyes to create soft and blended transitions between each color," she said. "Through this process, I am able to capture the subtle and beautiful shifts of color seen in nature. I also enjoy the contrast of the thin precise lines of each print versus the loose movement and bleeding of dyes."

Following graduation, Weinheimer hopes to teach art to elementary school students.

Morgan Cartwright, an art major from Saint Marys, is using her senior show to advocate for a social cause, mental illness. Her show, "Unveiling Invisible Illness," will be presented from April 25-29. Her opening reception is 6 p.m., April 25.

"I create mostly digital art but also enjoy traditional mediums in drawing such as charcoal and graphite," Cartwright said. "I decided upon my idea for my senior show because I prefer a graphic style, so I went with a poster design. I chose the subject matter based on my want for the stigma of mental illnesses to diminish. People overlook the complexity of these ailments and do not understand what the sufferers go through. I want to bring it to people's attention and end the stigma."

In presenting her show, Cartwright said she had to come up with a proper way to hang her artwork on the wall. "Installation is very important," she said.

After graduating in May, Cartwright will continue to work as a graphic designer at TomBob Outdoors in Ridgeway. She hopes to land some commission work in drawing and become certified in tattooing through an apprenticeship with an established tattoo artist.

"The art department here is great," she said. "I have learned so much from all of my professors and have developed great relationships with them. They are all so helpful and insightful. I couldn't have imagined a better group of professors to help me along the way to achieving my goals throughout my college career."

Jared Robison, an art major from Lyndora, will exhibit "1986" from April 18-22. His opening reception is 5 p.m., April 19. His exhibit will include an installation of his studio space, a digital element and three paintings.

"My art is a narrative exploration of materials and depending on what material(s) I am using, that is what motivates me to create and or present," he said. "What I like most about our art department is that we as students have the freedom to explore all disciplines. That freedom for me has allowed personal growth and a better understanding of what materials I intuitively respond better to."

Robison plans to attend graduate school to earn a master of fine arts degree and eventually teach at a university.

Maggie Acker, an art major from Coudersport, will display her paintings and drawings in "The Distance Between Words," from April 18-22. Her opening reception is 5-7 p.m., April 19.

As someone who has always been interested in the human figure and human psychology, Acker said she created wooded stretchers where her canvasses will hang due to the odd shapes of her paintings.

"The Slippery Rock University art department is unique in that it allows for interdisciplinary exploration and work between mediums," Acker said.

After graduating, Acker hopes to pursue a master's degree in painting and then teach at the collegiate level, as well as to continue to display and sell her own work.

Paula Lockwood, an art major from Cranberry, does sculpture and installation art and will offer, "It's a Party" from April 18-22. Her opening reception is 5 p.m., April 19. Lockwood will display wall pieces, floor pieces and installation pieces.

"I've focused most on utilizing gallery space appropriately and the mechanics in installing the installation pieces," she said. "I wanted to create a show that would be fun, interactive, and accessible to everyone."

Lockwood hopes to move to New York City or Chicago after graduating to work in a contemporary art gallery, "surrounding myself with other artists to create and curate exhibits."

Nicole Murphy, an art major from Pittsburgh, will present "IDEAL" from April 25-29. Her opening reception is 6 p.m., April 25.

Murphy said her drawings make a statement about the negative aspects of her childhood that were caused by arbitrary standards of what defined beauty for women. She said growing up was hard in the conventional social environment.

"The drawings I'm developing for my show are more for mocking the idea of what is beautiful versus what is reality," she said. "I usually make digital art but I dabble in most traditional mediums of art such as drawing and painting. It took me a while to figure out a concept that would capture an audience's attention not just in designs but in meaning as well. One day, I was putting on makeup and the idea came to me of sharing my story of the struggles I had faced growing up in an environment where appearance was everything."

She said the senior show is valuable because if gives seniors the idea of what must be taken into account for a gallery display.

"Installation is important in that the artwork needs to be leveled and labeled and location in the gallery is key for an even flow and sense of harmony among the multiple artists' work," she said. "It is our responsibility to cater the event and de-install the work."

Murphy said SRU art professors offer enthusiasm for helping students create works of art.

"They help to provide an engaging environment for the students which allows for an easy sharing of ideas and potential friendships," she said. "Students in the art department help one another in lending materials to one another and providing input in improving each other's work. Overall, I can say the art department at SRU is like one big, happy family."

Murphy's goal is to be a concept artist for television, movies or video games.

"I've always loved drawing my own characters and to be able to do that for a living would be a dream come true," she said. "For now, I am going to look into some graphic design positions as a starting point and hopefully begin to put my name out there via social media websites. As nice as it is to dream big, everyone has to start out small somewhere."

The final round of shows will be offered May 2-6. Molly Smith, an art major from Pittsburgh, will offer "Sensitive;" Amanda Jamison, an art education major from Aliquippa will exhibit "A Recollection;" Deanna Shields, an art major from Pittsburgh, will present "Serenity Unision;" and Allyson Fuhs, an art major from Pittsburgh, will present "Angular."

Amanda Jamison, an art education major from Aliquippa, said her show "A Recollection," involves traditional woodblock printmaking and photography. She used black and white prints and color photographs to illustrate how memory changes over time.

"This experience has been beneficial to me in many ways," Jamison said. "Learning how to put together a show has prepared me for the world as a professional artist. Working with the other students has helped me to understand that sometimes in jobs you have problems you have to over come to end up with a great outcome. Also creating an entire body of work in a single semester has really pushed me to my full potential as an artist."

Shields said she chose "Serenity Unision" because nature and natural shapes inspire her. For her show, she worked in clay and chose to make four different compositions of numerous plates that will all flow together with designs to illustrate the serenity and harmony of nature.

"Doing a senior show is beneficial to any student artist because it allows you to show people what you are capable of in the medium which you choose," she said. "You are allowed to do basically whatever you want and present it in the gallery however you chose. It teaches you self-discipline through the process of creating the work for your show. It might not seem like it, but senior shows are a lot of work and take up more time than you probably think. But in the end it will feel good to be able to see all of your hard work pay off when your pieces are in the gallery for anyone to come and enjoy."

Fuhs said her main medium is sculpture and installation. For her show, she focused on the triangle.

"My senior show will exhibit at least seven triangular forms made out of steel rods that I welded together," she said. "On those forms I am layering fabric ¬- cheese cloth ¬- as I like to add different elements to create a unique appearance."

As an art major, she said having a successful senior show is the biggest part of graduating.

"It is probably the most stressful and nerve-wracking experience but at the same time the most valuable of my four years spent at SRU," she said. "It gives us a sense of accomplishment and also lets us feel like a real artist to have our own show. It is entirely up to us which studio (medium) we choose to represent in our personal exhibitions. From the beginning of the semester we have discussions and help from our advisors and the professor that teaches that studio which we choose."

Following graduation, Fuhs will be working part time at the Mattress Factory museum in Pittsburgh while seeking a fulltime position with another gallery.

Efforts to reach Smith for this piece were unsuccessful.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine | 724.738.4854 | gordon.ovenshine@sru.edu