A&E- By Lori Dresner

Left: “Maelstrom” by Rachel McAlevey is one of the art works in the Senior Thesis Exhibit- By Lori Dresner, The Current © 2015

The Senior Thesis Show opened with a reception in the Fine Arts Building Gallery on April 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The show features a wide array of splendid artwork created by senior painting, drawing, and printmaking students at the University of Missouri­-St. Louis. The exhibit is on display until April 30. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Eye-catching artwork by Sherry Franklin-Story | By Lori Dresner, The Current © 2015

Upon entering the building, the gallery visitor is greeted by several eye-catching art pieces right away. One of the standout works is a bright, colorful pastel piece, made of monotype on cloth, titled “Evolution,” which was created by Sherry Franklin-Story, senior, studio art. The piece is composed of many large patterns that are immediately noticeable, while many smaller ones become visible when viewing the piece close up. Another piece that captures the viewer’s attention is an unusual piece that is on the floor, and was also created by Franklin-Story. It is a large paper sheet splashed with green, brown, blue, and red paint which viewers are free to stand upon and admire.

On the left and right walls, there are also two graphic collections. One collection is several pieces by Brett Heuer, senior, studio art, who created a comic series titled “Guardian Angels,” and who also draws the “Sasha and Nathan” comic in “The Current.” The other collection is by Aaron Kunkel, senior, studio art, creator of a developing graphic novel series called “Roaches.”

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Visitors admired, took photos, and mingled at the opening of the Senior Thesis Exhibit at Gallery FAB | By Lori Dresner, The Current © 2015
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Visitors examining and inspecting the artwork at the Senior Thesis Exhibit | By Lori Dresner, The Current © 2015

As the viewer turns left down the hallway, they can view a captivating plethora of art pieces in many different forms. The beginning of the hallway consists of various canvases and canvas collections that hang on both sides of the wall. One attention-grabbing piece is a large oil painting of an electric blue eyeball, which was created by Rachel McAlevey, senior, studio art. Light and dark blue hues are incorporated into the eyeball, giving it an intense and vibrant appearance. The eyeball is surrounded by two smaller eyeballs on separate canvases which were also created by McAlevey.

There are also some works on display that are more research-based. A collection of three framed documents, by Eric Wynen, senior, drawing, show his findings about the rule of law. According to his artist statement, the three documents presented together undermine laws’ integrity naturally. Another one of his pieces, located further down the hall, is a cased saw titled “Saw of Law.” The saw’s handle is made of dollar bills and sliced pennies, while the blade consists of various laws printed on paper. The overall piece strongly resembles a real saw and viewers may find themselves mulling over the deeper meaning behind the cleverly-designed work of art. Wynen is also the design editor for “The Current.”

After viewing the works displayed upstairs, one can then go downstairs, where more artwork is displayed, ranging from pencil drawings to bleached prints on fabric and wallpaper to mixed media pieces. Works within the students’ personal studios are also open for viewing.

Artwork was on display in the studio art seniors' studios were open for the first time during the Senior Thesis Show this year By Lori Dresner,  The Current © 2015
Artwork was on display in the seniors’ studios for the first time during the Senior Thesis Show this year
By Lori Dresner, The Current © 2015

Jeff Sippel, Professor and Instructor of Fine Arts, said that this is the first year artwork has been on display within the studios during the Senior Thesis Show. Sippel said that this year’s graduating studio art class is one of the largest ever, with 20 students.

After viewing the many art works on display, it is clear that the students have put many hours, days, and weeks of dedication and hard work into their final masterpieces. One of the best things about this art exhibit is the variety of pieces, which entail many different forms, medias, colors, sizes, shapes, and textures. Another great aspect of the exhibit is how each piece of artwork has the artist’s personal touch in it. This becomes obvious through reading the artist statements located next to each piece. Some of the works illustrate the emotions of the artist, some tell stories about the artist’s life, and others represent a particular aspect of society. There are several pieces which are solely up to the viewer to interpret. Whether one is an art enthusiast or is just looking to peruse, there is something for everyone in this exhibit.

More examples of UMSL art majors’ work can be seen at Gallery 210, which is hosting the annual “Parental Advisory” BFA student art exhibit, from April 11 to May 9. There are two other upcoming senior art exhibits happening in May and June. The campus Gallery Visio, located in the Millennium Student Center, will be displaying a selection of artwork from the 2015 senior studio art class in an exhibit called “Curtain Call for Seniors” beginning May 13 with a reception from 12 to 5 p.m. The exhibit will run through August 19. More of UMSL senior artwork will be on display at the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard, beginning with a reception on June 12 from 7 to 11 p.m. It will be on display through June 30.