The “She Saw The” exhibit, organized from start to finish by students, allowed fine art photography students to showcase their work at the The Startup Building. The closing reception took place on Sept. 13.
The art in the gallery touched on a variety of difficult subjects. The connecting point through the various works was the personal narrative. Several students relayed messages of overcoming anxiety or stereotypes through their art. Others examined the positive aspects of life, like love or comfort.
The majority of the students in this course were women. Many of the artists used that identity as fuel for their projects.
Jenna Evans, a senior photography major, used the #MeToo movement as her primary inspiration. She photographed and interviewed women to create a cohesive narrative about women’s bodies. Evans, in an effort to create a more intimate experience, brought in a couch for the viewers who engaged with her work.
“I learned about a woman who was the first person to publish a book with photographic images,” said Samantha Riding, a senior photography major, describing her work. “This was the process she used, cyanotype. Since our class was mostly female, a lot of works have a lot to do with gender issues. I thought it was really interesting that a woman had done this back in the 1800s. She was a botanist so all of her work was plant related. I decided to do [this process] on human skin with the plant images on top to show the connection of humans, plants and nature.”
The students’ art was displayed among industrial beams and exposed brick. Some of the artists took great care to incorporate the built environment into their displays while others had to make concessions due to space. Breanna Bauer, who took this course just before graduating with her bachelor of fine arts, said her project had to change slightly as they were setting up the artwork because of these constraints.
Many of the students explained how valuable the course was. It helped them experience the gallery process from beginning to end.
“When we got back in school it was hard to get everyone into it and sign up for stuff,” senior photography student, Hyeju Kim, said. “It was kinda difficult, but we’re here. We made it through. That’s the important part.”
Other artists expressed feeling similar anxieties in the last stretch of the project. Yet, there was an sense of pride and accomplishment from these students.
“The project itself was really challenging for me,” said Jennifer Thayn, a photography senior.“It pushed me further than I’ve ever been pushed as an artist. Good art should push you. It should challenge you in ways you didn’t think you would be challenged. I think good art should challenge who you are.”
Photos by: Angela Davis