The Whitworth University Art Department and the university’s Bryan Oliver Gallery are proud to present the 2021 senior exhibition. An eclectic and engaging selection of works from our art and graphic design majors will be on display from April 12 to May 22, 2021. We will also highlight the stories and work of these individuals on this blog over the next four weeks. Below you will find a video walkthrough of the exhibit as well as each person’s artist or designer statement.
Emily Coy: Artist Statement
My relationship with time is complicated. Time is linear and once a moment is gone, one can never return. I often find myself wishing time would speed up, or that I could go back. I have to challenge myself to recognize the present. In my work, I recreate mundane moments that had the potential to be overlooked and highlight the idiosyncratic details. The objects, the people, the events, the atmosphere, it all matters. The details of “everydayness” matter because they become treasures. This season especially has pushed me to reflect on my surroundings, as I have been confined within my home. While representing the physical in my art, I have found that representing the non-physical is equally as important. Concepts such as time, mood, energy, have found their way into my work through abstract semiotics and expressionism. As I think forward to how I will look back, I want to have work ready to authentically encapsulate my point of view and maybe reflect a portion of yours as well.
Sophia Lizberg: Artist/Designer Statement
My design work is the product of me working through the design process to create impactful pieces and serve a client’s needs. As a designer, I first look at what would best benefit the client and where my style fits in second. My style draws inspiration from the Swiss/International Style that originated in the 1940s. I am drawn to the sans-serif typography, legibility, and saturated/matte color palettes that defined this era. When designing, I enjoy experimenting with how text interacts with imagery and other elements that surround it. I often choose to layer text and images to create dynamic pieces that are engaging to look at but still clean and easy to read. When a client deems it necessary, I can incorporate my style in different formats, including hand-lettering and illustration. When I work with these other types of design, I find myself doing so in a way that incorporates the Swiss principles and style that I love.
For me, printmaking is an opportunity to move away from a client-focused approach to creating and focusing on making pieces that are more reflective of myself. Printing forces me to step back from the fast-paced and computer-focused design world and slow down and embrace the tangible. The concepts behind my prints come from the process of grieving and healing from past trauma. During this process, I often find myself at a loss for words to describe everything I’m experiencing in my mind. By turning these feelings into images, I am forced to slow down, process, and feel all that life throws my way.
Daly Derwenskus: Designer Statement
I am studying Graphic Design with a minor in Visual Communication.I found passion for website design and graphic design when I took Adobe Creative Suite. The final portfolio project during this course completing all the graphic design assignments were tasked to create a personal portfolio website. The process of putting together a website with finished projects was a fun experience for me. The reason why I liked the portfolio assignment so much was because I could see the progression of my design work over time.
The process of my work usually starts off with the ideation phase, and trying to figure out what type of website or graphic design work I am going to be making and figuring out the proper audiences as well. I also go to websites such as YouTube, Behance, and Dribbble to get further inspiration.
Then, I always start off my projects with a pencil and paper. I am able to go through many variations of ideas pretty quickly and see which design works best.
The reason why I am majoring in Graphic Design is because I wanted to be able to create my own graphics for my website projects. Whether that is for products, thumbnails, advertisement design, identity branding, banners, or even social media designs.
My style consists of using unique imagery, modern, simple, and professional design.
Throughout my work, whether that is website design, app design, or graphic design I always try to create meaningful solutions and I always put my best efforts into crafting them.
Sean Jones: Artist Statement
My work questions the ways in which we view technology and art while simultaneously explaining them. Through this questioning and contemplating, I bring to the forefront a critical discussion about the roles and influences of technology in connection to the arts. Although the explanations are singularly mine, they offer food for thought for those who may be struggling with realizing the dichotomy. My goal in doing this is to uncover how technology can be beneficial as well as detrimental within daily life and our contemporary landscape.
I aim to make viewers confront their own preconceived notions of how technology and art influence one another, encouraging them to dive into their subconscious in an effort to engage with my auditory and visual works. Through questioning the roles of technology in society, such as in advertising and social media, my work provides a dualist perspective. Uplifting and praising technology for its ability to connect people and disseminate information, or helping to reveal its potentially perilous ramifications.
In my practice, I use various tactics including 2D and 3D design, film, and audio production to raise questions or reach solutions on ultramodern issues. Although my area of interest is always shifting, I’m currently focusing on isometric design for its linear and technological nature, and learning how to express it in both my 2D and 3D works. With the addition of audio, my works interact with an additional human sense, further engaging the viewer and encouraging them to think critically about how design can be both ethically provoking while physically and cognitively revealing.
Kyle Smithgall: Artist Statement
As a digital artist, both my personal and client-based work is focused around the concept of simplicity within complex systems. Everything in the natural world, whether organic, synthetic, physical, or societal, is made up of smaller, working parts. When faced with a complete system, there is a tendency to overlook the segmented details within it, yet it is through the recognition of both, and the relationship between them, that one can witness true beauty. I find the best dichotomy between part and whole is observed in nature. The compound beauty that we see in an expansive landscape relies on the functional balance of every plant, rock, and animal.
When making art, I incorporate this concept into my creative process. Once my subject is determined, I make a physical drawing of the object in its entirety. Next, I begin subtracting from my rendering to reveal the fundamental lines and shapes. I transfer these foundational elements of design onto Adobe Illustrator’s digital workspace. In Illustrator, I reconstruct my subject visually and conceptually. Ultimately, this process not only allows myself to recognize the whole of my subject, but it also produces an artwork that balances simple and complex characteristics. The completed pieces allow for an interpretation of the subject, its parts, and what it means as a functioning composite.
Michael McIntyre: Artist Statement
Recently, I have come to enjoy the idea of creating pieces in limited series. What that means for my art process is that I enjoy coming up with an idea as a set of constraints, then creating within those constraints until I am sick of it. Given the brief nature of my attention span, this often results in a very limited number of pieces, especially for a production potter.
This process appeals to me not only because it reflects my own personality, but also because it allows me to really enjoy the pieces that do come from a series. I find that the larger I make a series, the less I care about the individual pieces.
Another part of my thought process as of late has been keeping themes and designs on the more light hearted side. Because these pieces are meant to sell, avoiding ideologies and opinionated messages is ideal in order to appeal to a wider audience. It also frees me to play around and make jokes, not only on the pieces themselves, but also with their titles.
“How can I create an appealing aesthetic?” and “How can I make someone laugh?” are two questions that I ask myself regularly when coming up with new ideas.
Zach Ross: Artist Statement
Through my paintings I seek to capture beauty inspired by nature. I have always been fascinated by things that are wild and beautiful. There are few things as wild and beautiful as being in the presence of a wild animal that moves, breathes, and exists outside the rules of civilization. In my paintings, a sense of life in the animal is very important if the painting is to evoke an emotional response. As I have painted more, I have striven less for photographic realism and opted more for painting in a way that expresses the figure I am painting. Each individual creature has a certain character to them that I hope to express. The different gestures that animals make and the harmonies and relationships that can be found with color excite me. In these works, I explore these while beginning to focus less on fine detail and allowing the paint to say more. I’m excited for the years I have ahead to be taught by oil paint and color.