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Senior Art Exhibitions at McPherson College Show Personal Style

posted May 08, 2012 in ACADEMICS

A caution tape dress, precariously balancing bowls and stick figures made of actual sticks – just a few of the more than 200 unique works of art and graphic design McPherson College seniors currently have on display in Friendship Hall.

Wayne Conyers, professor of art, said that each of the seven seniors exhibiting has a distinctive style.

“We have seven strong personalities and seven different approaches to art and design,” he said. “The concepts, art media, design, and styles are unique to these individuals. From our view in the visual arts department, we have failed miserably if exhibitors’ work looks all the same.”

Seniors currently displaying their work in the final art exhibition of the year at McPherson College are Katie Doffing, Conway Springs, Kan.; Rachel Leuthold, Bern, Kan.; Hailey Kinney, Overland Park, Kan.; Krissa Fuentes, Arvada, Colo.; Antowine Lamb, Great Bend, Kan.; Chase Ozbun, Rose Hill, Kan.; and Curt Compagnone, Salina, Kan. The work will be on display now through May 18, with a special reception at 7 p.m. May 18. The reception is free and open to the public.

Doffing’s work takes up several walls and much of it revolves around the theme of superheroes and secret identity. In addition to a full-length dress made of caution tape, which could easily be a superhero uniform, Doffing also has on display a Spider-Man-style web, abstract images of popular superheroes and photographs of complex designs drawn across people’s faces. Doffing said she feels that God has blessed her with her with amazing “powers”, even if they’re not superhuman. And, like Spider-Man, her power comes with responsibility. She sees her work as having the same depth as the characters she uses as models.

“Who knows, maybe I have a secret hidden identity,” she said. “With that being said, I do know that I have many layers, and my work is an extension of myself in that matter.”

Leuthold’s centerpiece work is titled “Choices” and takes up most of the center of the gallery. It consists of three human figures made of twisted branches and colorful bowls scattered all around them, representing choices the people can make. Inside each bowl is a different item – pretzels, copper chains, bobby pins, coins, or merely empty space.

Conyers said Leuthold’s work was constantly evolving during the four months of its creation – starting out with a single human figure and a couple of pots.

“As she continued the work, her ability to embrace the process and see where it would take her has served her well,” Conyers said. “Going with the flow and responding to the creative process isn’t as easy as it sounds – especially if the final product is going to keep the original artistic meaning they intended.”

Kinney’s work is drawn from her work as a graphic artist and illustrator, and includes everything from design of wine bottles to illustration of tree frogs.

“In a messy, chaotic world, I find graphic design to be the perfect escape from complicated messes,” she said. “Clean, simple lines, pleasant color schemes and well-thought-out layout make a strong design and easy communication.”

Compagnone graphic art, colorful photography and three sets of five black and white each. Each group of five is centered on a theme – discarded cigarettes, old metal and musical instruments – that focus on overlooked details with a close-up images of the objects. In his years at McPherson College, Compagnone’s work has earned him awards, including acceptance to the Prairie Arts Exhibition two years in a row, including a juror’s award of merit.

“Being able to apply the knowledge gained from photography, art and design classes by entering my work into shows has been an exciting part of my college life,” he said.

Lamb’s exhibit consists entirely of unique, engaging graphic design projects, including corporate design for an invented business “The Chocolate Fantasy” and a potential postage stamp design of “Heroes of Humanity” – featuring figures such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

“I think of ideas that can compete with other real-world companies and products and give the world something it has not had before or experienced,” he said. “My work showcases my classy, elegant and creative side.”

Ozbun’s work is a self-portrait, without any actual images of himself. Rather, the exhibit as a whole – including metal sculpture, a wood and metal coffee table, photos, ceramics and even a football uniform with memorabilia in a shadow box – together produce an overall picture of Ozbun and his life.

Fuentes has work including graphic design, computer illustration, painting and precariously balanced ceramics – stacked in a slightly leaning tower. One of her works, “Tangled” was accepted to the 38th annual Prairie Arts Exhibition in Sterling, Kan.

“When somebody asks what I do as a graphic designer and artist, it’s never the same answer,” she said. “It always changes, much like my art. Everything I do in my life and my work is an expression of myself.”

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