Thesis show opens in UNO Gallery

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By Meredith Whye, Contributor

The Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Show exhibits the works of the select few art students who have risen through the ranks and are about to obtain their degrees in Fine Arts.  

The thesis show gives art students a chance to display their final college works and show what they have worked on throughout their college experience.

The exhibit showcases four students with a variety of media such as oil painting, watercolors, installations and colored pencils. The four exhibits vary in subject matter, although three of them depict human beings in some way.

In the hexagon room is Maggie Jorgensen’s two installation pieces titled “The Voice of the Artist.” The first is her rendition of what a garden would look like in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world.  The garden is made from lights, foil and beads. A manifesto, a large tile slab with a long prose piece written on it, serves as warning to “the next generation” reading it.

Jorgensen’s other piece is the eye-catching “Titanium Heart.”  Over six feet tall and composed of stacked lumber like a Tinker Toy, it dominates the hexagon room. Inside the structure is a small, white pedestal with a silver heart on top. Along the insides of the lumber, Jorgensen has written words that go along with her theme of the artist’s voice with fragments such as “Someday I may be strong enough to make the external….” Jorgensen’s mix of dramatic installation pieces and complex poetry makes an interesting part of the thesis show.

“The Tourist Gaze” by Karen Follett is a series of oil paintings on canvas based on the artist’s photographs of her travel locations, including Africa, South America and China. These large-scale paintings mix abstraction with realistic elements. Follett usually makes a face or a person the focal point, while blurring the background slightly out of focus.

Follett says in her artist statement that her paintings are “socially derived” interpretations of the romantic view tourists have while visiting exotic locations.

Dan Cavanagh’s thesis artwork “Concentricity” includes small, colored pencil drawings and a large piece that takes up one wall of the gallery. Cavanagh’s art is very patterned and symmetrical. He primarily uses repeating shapes with vivid colors.

His large piece, “Quilt of Our Times” is made up of many small individual mixed media pieces that use wood, spray paint and medicine bottle caps. Cavanagh’s use of contrasting and repeating colors inside confined shapes is very visually appealing and effective.

“En L’Air: A Study of Dancers Defying Gravity” by Emily Jordan is definitely the most striking collection in the exhibit. Her dance-inspired works include small watercolor studies and very large oil paintings, all of dancers.  Her pieces are striking but playful, controlled but flowing, serene but intense. One can almost sense the movement of the dancers from the paintings. Jordan has beautiful details, but up close one can see her pencil marks and sketches on the finished painting. This lends to the feel of the paintings, they are well done but with urgency. Jordan’s paintings leave the viewer wanting more, to see where the dancers are about to go next.
The thesis exhibit runs through May 4 at the UNO Art Gallery, in the Weber Fine Arts Building.

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