Ultra Mega Mega is a pop-up art show that appears at semester’s end to showcase the creativity unleashed in Luther art classes. Dances, theatre, paintings, sculpture, photos, prints, and more fill the Center for the Arts for one evening. For this feature we asked students to tell us about their art.
Tessa Kraus ’16: “[Professor of English] Lise Kildegaard came to our class and talked about Square Stories, so I wrote a whole bunch of stories that are environmentally based, either addressing an issue or pointing out something that’s beautiful in the environment or interesting. Then I did a short illustration print to capture each short story that I wrote. The elk with the human skeleton inside grew from a piece I did for Conceptual Art last semester—it was an anthropomorphism of an animal. People seemed to really like them, so I went with that [for one story].”
Claire Firary ’17: “I’m working with the theme of impermanence, specifically, the impermanence of people. This one is of a past lover, but I’ve also been using mediums that are in themselves impermanent. So I used a piece of cardboard, not only because I ran out of more expensive material, but because I knew that after I printed him a couple of times it would be destroyed and it couldn’t be printed again. Also, it sort of looks like cardboard or it looks discarded. And then I’m trying to abstract the faces. The faces look like they’re fading into abstraction so that’s where the lines work in the piece—they start to go into the eyes, you’re not really sure what’s eye and what’s line—like a fading memory, someone who’s not there. Impermanence is really important to me. I think a lot of things are impermanent, but I think one thing throughout everyone’s life that’s the hardest thing to be impermanent is people. Whether it’s death, whether you lose your friends, you lose your boyfriend, your girlfriend, that’s one of the hardest things that I have to come to terms with—so this is me saying I’m still holding on to it but am trying to let go because people are impermanent.”
Lars Johnson ’16: “This is a monoprint, which means it can’t be replicated umpteen times. I have a couple series of prints like this that are all uniquely inked and pressed. For this one, I started with light gray ink, then rolled black ink around the edges, and then continued to roll black and gray ink repetitively over it to create this field of color. It has depth, and that’s what I was looking for—luminosity or depth.”
Rachel Madryga ’16: “I was playing with the interplay of 2-D and 3-D elements, and I was interested in synthetic and natural beauty versus artificial and natural products of the earth. I wanted to recreate that in an artistic interpretation— recreating nature but in a fake way purposely, trying to recreate it but not realistically. There’s a lot of melted Styrofoam, corn starch elements, paint pigment, then there’s this scraped part where it’s interacting with the earth.”
Andrea Stenseth ’19: “This project was for a word-craft assignment. We had to take a nontraditional text-making material, build or construct a word or phrase to go with it, then connect the material with the content. After hours of contemplation, I decided to use various sized metal nuts and spell the word “crazy”. The goal of this assignment was to have the craft and the word enhance each other. In doing this project, I acquired the skill of wire welding. My uncle assisted me in wire welding them together, he taught me how to wire weld as well. I created the design which shaped the letters and the direction of the nuts in the way I deemed would look best.”
Zoe Johnson ’16: “I made this for my drawing class final. I really like textures and abstraction and I wanted to have people come up with their own interpretation of a landscape. I wanted to bring out textures and do monochromatic areas so that people could think of it as a cityscape, mountain range, or however they viewed it.”
Megan Wachholz ’16: “I always come back to a meditative process in my work. There’s a lot of repetition of lines and marks. I could do those for hours and hours—focusing on one single mark for a really long time is kind of calming. I was trying to play with surface so I gessoed it very thickly and made some textures to work with and incorporated that meditative process within that and tried to work with organic marks to more precise marks.”
Nicole Niehaus ’16: “This photo was taken for the ‘create a narrative critique’ in photography class. My set of photos was called Sister of a Marine. The message that I was trying to convey was that I lost my brother [Eric], and I wanted to show the things that we have left of him. I felt that this one showed my true connection to him. We have about 180 windbreak trees behind our house—we live out in the middle of the country—and we also have a Christmas tree farm, and the reason I chose the trees in the background is because my brother and I used to work on our Christmas tree farm together.”
Cody Arndtson ’17: “This is called light painting. It was taken by the tunnel on the Trout Run Trail on the way to the fish hatchery. I created it with a long exposure on my camera, about 30 seconds, and spinning steel wool on fire. The steel wool is in a kitchen whisk—you separate the steel wool, fill the whisk up, and then attach it to a rope or a wire and then you set it on fire and spin it. The fibers from the steel wool fly out from the whisk and create these sparks, and then once they fall they break apart, which is why you get the bounce effect.” For this photo, Cody was spinning two whisks.
Gali Sy ’17: “This is my dad. My parents came to visit Luther when we were doing a portrait photography topic in class. I used my parents for practice and then I took a couple shots of my dad. He sat on a chair in his hotel room and I used the bedside table lamp next to him to shine a bit on his face. I took a couple rush shots, not knowing what it would come out like, but when I looked at my picture, I said, Wow, he could be a model!” Gali’s dad is Malick Sy, a financial consultant and professor.
Maxwell Green ’17: “This is a woodblock matrix. To make a print, I would roll ink on the top and then I would run it through the press or hand-rub it after lining up a piece of paper over the top of it. It’s influenced by a lot of the traveling I did as a younger kid. Also, my brother is a professional writer, so we grew up making art together and we are significant influences on each other. I was kind of touching on those things and experiences we’ve shared.”
Pedro Da Costa Cadalak ’16: “This assignment was about body extension, how to use found materials as your main source and then make that into something wearable. I saw this green wire in the recycling center so I started cutting it and putting it together on a dress form. I could see how it was coming together and becoming very rigid but still flexible, very dynamic. In a way it’s organic, and I’m really interested in organic forms. It’s also part of sustainable fashion, and as a future designer it’s my responsibility to think of new ways of treating materials and to be sustainable.” Modeling Pedro’s work in the video was Joy Okeke ’17. Björn Myhre ’16 was the videographer.
Nate Orton ’18: “This was my first semester without a ceramics class; I just had open studio hours. So I tried to keep creating and started exploring different surface techniques and forms. These vases are an exploration of different slip materials, and the bowls are more underglazing and staining techniques. Nearing the end of the semester, I was looking at traditional teapot styles. I re-created one that was traditional and came up with one on my own that was more modern.”
Miranda Joslin ’17: “In this class, on hand-building ceramics, we were making letters, trying to learn the basic steps of ceramics. The aesthetic of the letter was supposed to match something that the letter starts with. So for this one, I did M, and I tried to make it have the appearance of metal.”
Alexis Hove ’18: “Our assignment was to do some sort of body extension. My initial idea was to do a work with hair that really exaggerated the length of the hair. I really like hair. I got thinking about sexual assaults and I heard that assaulters look for women with long ponytails because it makes them vulnerable. So I got the idea to use rope as the hair strands because it makes it more aggressive and emphasizes the idea of assault even more. Then, with the casts of the hands grabbing and violating the rope and the hair, it makes it kind of scary. I really wanted to emphasize the aggressive side of assault as well as the creepy and elusive side. The absence of a face or any sort of body in a way dehumanizes the sculpture and points directly at the act itself.”
Hannah Tulgren ’18: “This started out very different. Originally I had some cardboard pieces on here but they weren’t really working so I tore them off. I flipped it upside down and I had these drips to work with. … I decided to go with my gut and I worked out these trees—blue is my favorite color. There’s a source of light that you can’t really see coming in on the branches and the trunks, kind of integrating them with these drips. I had these lines that are actually used for tying flies for fly fishing—I make flies—and I put them down as a masking technique and then pulled a couple up to reveal these sharp white lines. That gives a good pattern to the piece and a different look at the trees—some are behind and some in front of the lines.”