A femme finale is on display at the Memorial Hall main gallery. It hosts the selected works of the art department’s five graduating seniors – Amy Christie, Ember Welsch, Tessa Sanford, Natalie McCune, and Pricilla Sandoz.
The exhibit is open now through December 9th, and is open for public appreciation from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. until Friday A special artists’ reception will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. Friday.
The relationship between gender and art is well represented by Sandoz’s piece, “Working Woman”. The painting encourages thought about women’s roles and expectations, but the work’s value is prevalent in the obvious skill and effort it took to execute. The colorful oil medium lends itself well to Sandoz, and her canvas is spread with a mesmerizing array of colored slices. Sandoz’s only other painting on display, an oil entitled “Moab”, depicts a sun-enveloped woman, her form and warmth simple but attractive, like the desert sprawling behind her. These pieces reflect Sandoz as an artist who knows what she likes, being self-professed denizen of oil on canvas. She uses that specific medium to inspire thought from her audience, which is an invaluable tool for an artist.
It is obvious, exploring the five creators’ offerings, that Chadron’s various art classes stretched them beyond their comfort mediums. Stanford wrote in her artist’s statement that she was “encouraged to explore various mediums” during her academic career. These include photography, printmaking, ceramics, and sculpture. Sanford’s collection, like her peers’, is eclectically composed and represents her ability well. One reoccurring theme is frogs, but even this homely subject matter glitters under Sanford’s quirky light. Her culmination pieces borrow inspiration from daily activities, yet they are anything but ordinary.
Welsch’s pieces posses simplicity and glorify the beauty in basic lines. Her work can capture elegance in many mediums, whether rustic stoneware or black and white intaglio. Her body of work is diverse, yet straightforward. It resembles her artist’s statement affixed to the gallery wall. By far the shortest statement, it is easily understood but emphatic, much like her own works.
The other artists find creative inspiration from many venues. McCune likes lilies, with two of her pieces featuring the white flower, a stained glass and an oil. This floral favoritism is usually attached to women, with flowers traditionally connoting femininity, but McCune explains her attachment is deeper than aesthetic appreciation.
“It’s almost as though they go through different lifetimes. When they seem to perish they are reborn even more magnificent and resilient than before.” McCune draws comparisons from nature’s growth and rebirth to her artwork and creative journey. The next step in said journey, McCune says, is Colorado, where she plans to pursue graphic design.
Christie is completing her Art Education and Special Education major, intent on reaching children with the power of art. Her photographs capture the rustic beauty around her, and her keen eye will be an asset to her students. Like many future educators, Christie aims to aid her students to “better express who they are without words.” Christie’s own works speak volumes about herself, and they have only good things to say.
The show underscores that Chadron State is proud to send five talented artists into the world, which should benefit from their creativity.