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UL Lafayette 2017 Fine Arts Senior Exhibition
UL Art Seniors’ work open to public
As November prepares to give way to December — and the city is gray and the Christmas lights go up, making even the mundane sparkle around the edges — it is easy to ease into the inherent nostalgia of the season.
Don’t. Not yet.
Before diving headfirst into the familiar, revel in the new for a fresh perspective. This week, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Department of Visual Arts will host the second installment of the Fall 2017 senior exhibitions at the Fletcher Hall Gallery. There, up and coming artists will have their theses on display, offering the public a glimpse into the future of visual arts in Acadiana.
One such artist, Jolene Price, has created art her entire life in many forms and mediums, though she concentrates in painting. Her works include multimedia pieces, like “The Long Longing String,” a sculptural piece whose title references Sufi poet Rumi’s piece "A Mouse and A Frog.” The two beings are pinned to the wall beside one another and connected by a tangled string that pools in tatters on the floor beneath them.
“I want to contribute the idea that everybody is an artist in some sort of way,” Price said. “It’s an expression that’s necessary for us. I have a minor in psychology and thought for a long time about going into art therapy. So for me, it’s really important.”
Price noted that her peers are addressing social issues through their work, and bring “understanding to areas that, in our society, are sometimes ostracized.” One of her favorite pieces is classmate Madeline Bennett’s room, which she transformed to reflect her trauma.
“My work is about exploring the issue of child abuse, specifically, child sex abuse,” Bennett said. “It’s something I’m very passionate about and have been through personally. I want people to realize this is happening, and it’s a problem. I make art because I believe I can make a difference for people and offer peace to not only myself, but people around me.”
Bennett credits the interactive studio environment to her progress as an artist. Fellow ceramist Susan Sinitiere, whose figurative work and wall hangings displayed last week, said the “community-heavy” studio guides everyone to their own space.
“We’re reliant on each other for firings. People tend to be open with their making process, and it’s a lovely thing to be able to have that community and share recipes for glazes and techniques.”
Sinitiere said she switched from painting to ceramics to painting to work in the third dimension.
“You are manipulating mud, and it can create great accidents that you benefit from, or you might learn that you stepped into something new that’s exciting, and I can do everything that I did in painting. The visual communication you can play with is infinite.”
Aside from Bennett’s room, the largest installation is Eric Hitt’s sprawling, entangled nylon rope installation. The myriad ropes form patterns of shadows and light.
“I want you to be able to look up and have this vision of this canopy, and having light shine on particular strings and fall throughout. It’s interesting. You’ll get lost.”
The piece took Hitt six or seven times to get right, and to discern the meaning. But, he said, he gets it now.
“It’s an accumulation of mass that represents different directions we could have chosen but didn’t, and we don’t have to fret over that,” he said. “It may seem overwhelming, but we can slow down and look at the individual, and that leads to a different one, and then to the whole.”
The seniors’ work will be on display at the Fletcher Hall Gallery, located at 421 E. Lewis St., in room 207 from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. The gallery is open Monday — Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The reception will be on Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.