By Kari Lutes, Contributing Writer
One unique mark of the art major at Asbury is the senior exhibit, in which students taking studio art display their work in one of Asbury’s art galleries in Z.T. Johnson Bistro or Kinlaw Library. The exhibit is the culmination of senior students’ art education, giving students who were nominated by the department the chance to display their work to Asbury’s campus. This semester senior art majors Stephanie Youngquist, Brendan Steury, Shannon McCowan and Colin Cook were given that chance.
For Stephanie Youngquist displaying her art also gave her a chance to look back on her education. Her exhibit, entitled “On Time,” reflects the relationship between her senior year of high school and of college.
“Mostly, it was just me thinking about myself as a senior in high school, and now here I am as a senior in college,” said Youngquist of the inspiration for her piece. “I saw all these similarities between the two, even though I’m obviously in a very different place now.”
Youngquist’s exhibit, which features 156 porcelain cups and four art books, reflects this different-yet-connected nature through images of the tides and moon, as well as many different quotes on time within the art books. Working with porcelain, Youngquist’s favorite medium, also provides a unique aspect to the exhibit: the cups ‘glow’ when held up to the light, “which is especially fun with the moon icon,” Youngquist said of the exhibit on display in the art gallery in the Bistro.
Brenden Steury describes his exhibit “Carriers” as “a culmination of a lot of things…at Asbury which has led my art to where it is.” Steury’s exhibit in the Kinlaw Library is made up of eight oil-on-canvas pieces, in which Steury explores the idea that “flesh speaks.”
“[The paintings] are not the most realistic I could make them,” Steury said of his work, “[but rather] an exploration of the relationship between oils and flesh.”
For Steury, art is about expressing and stretching yourself, which is exactly what his did with the largest piece in his exhibit, “Disciples.” “It’s highly formal, highly expressive, and was both the easiest and hardest piece for me to paint.” Steury said of the piece. But his experience at Asbury helped him to push out of his comfort zone, and appreciate the difficulty of the piece, which had become his favorite painting in the exhibit.
Shannon McCowan’s exhibit of photography embraces the unknown. “The unknowable and ambiguous can be important than the right answers,” McCowan said of her inspiration. “In both art and life, I have found a freedom in not knowing.”
McCowan hopes to capture the unknown in her work. The photographs, displayed in the walk-through of the Bistro capture a point in a story, but leave the rest of the story untold—the essence of the unknown.
McCowan sees beauty in simplicity, making her piece “little snake” which depicts a snake slithering away in the middle of the road one of her favorite pieces in the exhibit. “The little snake is slithering away perfectly. It’s just really cute and simple to me,” she said of the piece, which is displayed along other “simple” pictures of a cat or vacuum cleaner.
Colin Cook’s exhibit, “Le Peripherique,” translated as “the peripheral” in English seeks to explore what Cook refers to as “peripheral realities” or “neglected truths.” Cook’s exhibit, which is displayed in the Gallery Annex in the Bistro, reflects his experience studying aboard in Paris in the fall of 2014 and changes he experienced the semester after.
“Abstract art is always received and translated by each viewer very differently, but the general message I hope to convey is one of honesty and truth in confronting the harsh and hidden realities within ourselves and around ourselves.” Cook said of his work. Studying in Paris awoke Cook to these realities, and he hopes to awake others through his work.
The seven oil-on-canvas paintings are very personal to Cook, especially the pieces entitled “Strata of Self” and “Weeds,” because they reflect the ideas and revelations that confronted him in Paris.
Each artist has a unique story and idea to share with campus, reflecting the growth they experienced as students and artists at Asbury.
All exhibits will be on display until Feb. 19.