Unity in Dissonance: Studio Art Senior Exhibition 2015

SPU’s Studio Art exhibition features 4 seniors’ displays on work ranging from canvas painting to photographic prints. The theme of the show is “Unity in Dissonance,” however I don’t see dissonance in any of the artists’ work, but connections being made.

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Alanna Sadeghian’s inspiration is postage stamps – something she has always loved because of the places they can represent. She created a series of linoleum block prints of stamps featuring places that have impacted her life. There are two for each place; a black-and-white and a color version. Sadeghian’s work is the standout for me. Each piece is immaculately executed, the prints are well-framed, and considering the technique involved in carving the linoleum blocks the pieces are beautiful to look at, economical in line and color, and contain an interesting texture.

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Morgan Sheppard created 27 screen printed portraits of people who are important to her. For each piece, she layered the screen printed portrait, then the color, then patterns that depict the personality of the person portrayed. The portraits range from subjects of early-mid twentieth century photographs to current photos. While the colored patterns bring much needed interest to the portraits, the display comes off a little lackluster on the whole. The wall is painted grey behind the portraits, and I wish it were a different, more vibrant color because my eye easily slips right past. I also believe there is a touch of quantity over quality. There are only three layers to each piece and much white space. Had the number of prints been reduced and more elements been poured into those, I would be wholly more interested in Sheppard’s display.

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Jasmine Johnson created acrylic paintings in a series she entitles “The Jellyfish Series.” Each painting includes jellyfish “where they wouldn’t normally be found,” as quoted from her artist statement. These jellyfish are woven into trees, floating through space, etc. The series on the whole captures this transcendental quality – the surreality of dreams and the cerebral, mystical “floating” sensation Johnson means to portray with the jellyfish. While the sensations one gets from the series are very calming, color, for me, is what slightly misses the mark. Some pieces do exhibit colors I find pleasing to look at, especially in the context of Johnson’s intentions. Some I just don’t find pleasing to look at, and these are the more “color-wheel basic” colors. Two canvases feature a mix of oil paint and acrylic, which makes the texture of the paint standout from the other pieces. I find that a nice marriage of mediums, and wish the whole series had been this oil/acrylic mix.

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Last is Jenell DeAndre who created a photograph series where she paints with light, using long exposure to capture the ribbons of light in the night sky. I was intrigued by the photos, by themselves, until I read her artist statement. Light-painting is beautiful – whimsical on some occasions, sparky and energetic on others, and some of her pieces do achieve this. However, when one reads that the intention of her photos is to show the energy of working on an oyster farm on the water at night, the connection is lost. On sight, I didn’t pick up ocean, and unfortunately, some of the photos simply look like out-of focus shots. I like DeAndre’s inspiration: ocean waves at night and the tides, but I feel there was more potential for light painting artistry.

Being that the show’s theme is unity in dissonance, I had a hard time finding any dissonance – no conflict or discord. Sadeghian shows connections between personal locations and the place-oriented nature of stamps. Sheppard shows connections between people and the pattern of their personality. Johnson shows connections between the floating nature of both dreams and jellyfish. DeAndre attempts to show connections between the energy of light and the night tide. On the whole, each display showcases unique, individual pieces that would be perfectly strong on their own.

— Brie Martinez

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