Senior seminar highlights student inspirations, skills


Akacia Howe

The senior seminar exhibit will be open until Dec. 8 in the Pace Galleries.

Gabrielle Pyle has worked in the McCutchan Art Center/Pace Galleries for three semesters because she loves setting up the art exhibits. The senior studio art major said the current senior seminar exhibit is special for her, as her own art, two ceramic and two wood pieces, are in the show.

“Seeing my pieces there every day when I walk in and seeing (them) with all of the other student’s art is a really good feeling,” Pyle said.

The senior seminar exhibit is a showing of student works throughout their time at the university as a part of the required senior art and design seminar class. The class, and exhibit, help students finalize everything they have created and build up their portfolios to send out after graduation.

This semester’s exhibit features work from 37 senior studio art, graphic design, interactive media and illustration students. The exhibit is open until Dec. 8 in the Pace Galleries.

“It helps showcase all the seniors well, while also unifying everyone together in a single space,” Pyle said. “(Students) all have such a unique style that I really enjoyed just looking at all of their pieces.”

She said setting up the exhibit was different from past shows. The exhibit was designed to keep artists’ work together in their own space while mixing the mediums together to give the show a cohesive appearance even though every student has their own style and message.

Pyle said her own work is inspired by nature’s flowers, bright colors and materials as she draws on memories of gardening with her grandmother and mother. She said she makes her artwork with minimal, simplistic qualities.

Jonathan Hamilton said finding inspiration is something he is still struggling with, but class requirements have helped.

The senior illustration major said three of his exhibited digital paintings are from his favorite class, narrative illustration. Hamilton said the works were inspired by comic books and supernatural phenomena that bring a sense of wonder.

He said every class at the university has helped him become a better artist and prepare him for the world after graduation. He said the senior seminar class and exhibit is not an opportunity many people get.

“It really just gives us some validation for all that we have done through our careers,” he said. “We’ve all worked hard, we’ve put all these hours in to making this work, refining our style and artistic voice. This is the chance we get to display our work and it’s out for people to see.”

Jenna Sharp said the exhibits gives students the chance to see their friend’s art as well.

“We sit for four years in those studios and not everyone sees what we are working on,” the senior studio art major said. “It’s nice to put that art on display that we’ve made for the past four years.”

Sharp has four pieces in the exhibit, three from an unnamed series she started last august.

Sharp said she prefers to use flat, matte-like acrylic paints for her optical, psychedelic imagery.  

“They’re all a little odd,” she said. “Even my drawings tend to be a little weird.”

Sharp said her time at the university has helped her find the 2D art she loves and allowed her to gain experience with all art forms.

She said the exhibit is sentimental for her because many of her friends are graduating with her and they may never work in the same studio again.

“It’s a good, accomplished feeling to see everyone up one last time,” she said. “These are our lives and our majors. It’s just nice to have it here to show family and friends, to kind of say goodbye to everything that way.”