Senior Art Major Exhibiton - Group 1

Samantha Bratland, Joseph Cowan, Annie Stenseth, and Max Skrzypek
Kristin Wigley-Fleming Gallery
April 3, 2019 - April 16, 2019

This is one of two student exhibitions happening this spring for art majors in the class of 2019. Each student will claim a section of the gallery to showcase their Senior Art Exhibition. The content and subject matter for each exhibition are driven by each student's research and studio investigations in the Fall of 2018. Below are artist statements from each student whose work is currently featured:

Hidden Conflicts

"Every morning we all walk to the mirror and look at our reflection. Some days we may think we look beautiful and other we can't even stand to look at the person staring back. Yet many of us choose to turn away from the mirror and put on a different face than we saw in the mirror that morning. Your best friend sees your bright smile, your laughs, your beauty, but everyday when you walk back to the mirror all you see are the wounds form the battle you endured that day. You go to bed every night asking yourself, Why am I like this?

You can't help but to start to listen to the nagging voices in your head and believe everything they tell you. They tell you things that are not true and you think things that are not considered normal, but you feel too ashamed to tell anyone about the abuse you are going through.

My work uses surrealist techniques and imagery to allow a glimpse into the interior pain and mental battle so many people experience everyday but because of shame or fear, they resist asking for help."

- Samantha Bratland


"Drawing on painting techniques of the 19th century leading up to contemporary Atelier teaching, my work grounds itself in accurate observation and translation of the three dimensional world -- that is to say, fidelity to the natural appearance of objects. While my paintings largely exist to exemplify what I have learned during my studies, they are also about finding beauty in the subject matter which may even be mundane. I believe that dignity can be added to almost any subject through painting."

- Joseph Cowan

It's Tea Time

"My work comments on changing attitudes towards body modification. Clay is the primary medium of this work for its utilitarian properties and ability to be modeled into forms that mirror the living tissues of the human body. By utilizing familiar and traditional ceramic forms in contrast to the body, my work highlights the generational gap in acceptance of body modification. The process of physically modifying familiar forms reflects the physical process of body modification. This integration acts to normalize body modification by placing them in a domestic living space to create a familiar illusion. The forms are placed into historic Victorian settings in order to have commentary on the contrast of body modification begin once hidden and taboo now out in the open on display."

- Annie Stenseth

Painful Existence: Suffering is All You'll Get Here

"My work serves to allow people to see the struggles that those with mental illness face every single day. Even today they face a lot of stigma, as they tend to be labeled as 'lazy' or 'not trying hard enough', when in  reality they do the best they can with what they have. This misunderstanding and lack of support make it even harder for them to not give up completely.

Through my art I aim to illustrate my own experiences and feelings about the pain of mental illness. By using mixed media, including acrylic and watercolor paints, and black ink I am able to mirror the style of vent art usually created digitally. At the base of it, vent art includes works of art whose purpose is to relieve the creator from there, usually negative, emotions. I decided on following this concept since the majority of vent art is created as a coping mechanism to relieve one of their emotional or mental pain.

I chose a limited palette of only black, white and red, through which I am able to portray a separation from the outside world and and the internal suffering that bleeds form the inside to the outside of one's body. By illustrating the internal struggles those with mental illness face, I hope to showcase it and make it more visible to the outsider's eyes, especially when the one in pain does show symptoms and behaviours that others label as unwillingness to better their situation instead of displaying the stereotypical ones. Through this, I aim to raise awareness about the people with mental illnesses, who daily battles are often invisible and hence overlooked by the large population.

- Max Skrzypek