Paintings, photos and prints all included in the BFA thesis exhibits

Six senior bachelor of fine arts students will be displaying their work in an exhibit dedicated to fine arts seniors as their thesis projects.

Ed Petersen, Areana Cuddy, Barbra Medcoff, Levi Werner, Jessi Saiki and Alyson Kennard are the artists who are putting on BFA Thesis Exhibit I and II. The exhibits allow artists to display their work a final time before walking the stage at graduation. This year, the two exhibits will show different mediums from painting to wood carving to photography to ceramics, all with unique meanings or messages behind the pieces of art.

“Is that all there is?” by Ed Petersen. Photo by Malia Barto.

Jessi Saiki is studying hand-built ceramics and will be displaying her pieces, together entitled “The Human Saiki.”

“I’m most excited for people to relate to my work,” Saiki said. “I’ve found creating art is a healing and fulfilling experience.”

Through representational characters, Saiki’s pieces all focus around the idea of examining the arts as a mental health and therapy tool, looking at themes such as identity, brain injury, family relationships, death and life.

Barbra Medcoff will be graduating with her second degree; her first being in art education and now photography. She will be displaying dozens of photos in the exhibit taken from her photo shoot titled “Anonymous Misogyny.”

Medcoff’s photos capture women reacting to derogatory and vulgar comments left on various public social media pages. Saiki is even one of Medcoff’s models for the shoot. The comments are from screenshots Medcoff took and saved before starting the project. The comments are enlarged and scattered around the women on sheets of paper.

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“I don’t think people would make these comments face-to-face,” Medcoff said. “I’m hoping that [viewers] think twice about what they say, what they type because these are real people they’re affecting.”

Levi Werner, whose bachelor of fine arts’ emphasis is in printmaking, made eight pieces for the exhibit, some which are near life-sized.  

“Part of the reason why I chose to create such large figures is because I wanted to create a sort of confrontation between the viewer and the work. This confrontation was meant to be playful because much of the work has been created with a sense of humor in mind,” Werner said.

Werner’s large pieces were intentionally made to grab, or “demand,” the attention of the viewers by making some of his pieces interactive. As an example, his piece “Commentator” was said to be like a print apparatus, where viewers can essentially “print” the image in front of them through an intricate setup he created with gears, cranks and pillars.

Before the students start working on the pieces, they are to write a thesis proposal about the vision of what their exhibit would be about the semester prior to its opening. The proposal goes through multiple drafts that must be approved by members of the committee.

The six students are sharing two exhibits, both held for one week each. The BFA Thesis Exhibit I has already closed, but featured Werner’s relief prints and the paintings of Petersen and Cuddy. BFA Thesis Exhibit II will stay open until the end of the semester, featuring Saiki’s ceramics, Medcoff’s photography and Kennard’s paintings. The exhibit is being held in the Kimura Gallery, located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building.

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