Seven seniors hold thesis exhibit

Shrinking Women: the Fat Female Apologetic,” by Jade Ariah, ceramics student. Ariah’s art looks at the way women are portrayed in the media. Photo credit: Jade Ariah

For many seniors, a thesis paper is mandatory before graduating, but for the bachelor’s of fine arts students, a week-long exhibition showcasing their work is expected.

It starts with a written thesis proposal the previous semester that the students must submit with what their exhibit would be about. If approved, the students start working on their art that will be displayed in the Kimura Gallery.

Each of the students’ art has a certain theme or message they’re trying to deliver. Kendra Harvey has a concentration in ceramics and painting within her fine arts major. Her exhibit will depict myth reinterpreted with animal sculptures. The inspiration for her senior project went back to what she enjoyed as a child.

“Mythology always interested me. My parents bought me this planetarium that would project the night sky onto my ceiling and it came with a disc that would walk me through each constellation and the myth behind it and I was obsessed with it… I thought back to that and wanted to investigate how I could apply that to my art and what I’m doing now,” Harvey said. “I wanted to give it a different spin ? a more personal spin.”

Jade Ariah, who also has a concentration in ceramics, created ceramic underwear and has titled her exhibit “Shrinking Women: the Fat Female Apologetic.” Her art looks at the way women are portrayed in the media: often tiny and dainty. Ariah wanted to question the “pervasiveness of fat phobia and celebrate the aesthetic value of fatness.”

“Making sculptures of billowing granny panties is a way to talk about women’s bodies lightheartedly, but also to realize our ideas of beauty are based on an oppressive social construct,” Ariah said.

The students are in the BFA program for two scholastic years. For Kiara Kaitchuck, the best part of being a BFA student was learning more about herself.

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“The program has helped me to consider my work as an artist as more than just a purveyor of pretty things, but as a person who can talk to people visually and influence change,” Kaitchuck said. “In terms of my mental health, the program has helped me learn more about myself than three years of psychiatric treatment did because I have learned it is awesome to be critical of yourself. That’s what makes better humans.”

Kaitchuck’s exhibit is a work of paintings entitled “Unheimlich,” where she focuses on four mental disorders, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. She chose those four because of the misconceptions about mental disorders.

Also hoping to bring awareness to the show is Danielle Morgan, whose watercolor and graphite art shows the “hidden” side of autistic women. Being recognized as autistic as an adult is not commonly seen and gender expectations and other reasonings have made it more difficult for women to be recognized as autistic.

Morgan, who is autistic, has her own feelings displayed through her artwork, the feeling of being “invisible.”

“There is a general misunderstanding to exactly what autism is… By doing this project, I’m hoping that people will want to research it more themselves,” Morgan said.

In the first week, BFA Thesis Exhibit I will showcase Harvey, Morgan, Kaitchuck and Lauren Stanford. Part two of the exhibition the following week will feature Ariah, Bryce Fredrick and Jeanette Sweetman.

Exhibit I opened Monday, April 23 and will stay open until Friday, April 27. Exhibit II will be open Monday, April 30 until May 4. There will be an opening reception on April 30 from 5:30 – 8 p.m.

The exhibitions will take place in the Kimura Gallery, located on the second floor of the Fine Arts Building.