Seniors present their final show with “Happy Accidents and Oddities”

Friday’s senior art show reception drew a crowd of about 60 people who filtered through the main gallery in Memorial Hall, as the three showcased senior artists answered questions about their works.
The senior thesis show “Happy Accidents and Oddities” featured the work of seniors Tory Snyder, 22, of Pierre, South Dakota, Brooke Nelson, 23, of Philip, South Dakota, and Rebecca Barger, 21, of Atkinson.
The show’s title allowed for a large range of eclectic features. The artists displayed many different subjects, themes and mediums in the show that all flow together well in the gallery. While the show includes traditional pieces like still-life drawings and pottery, there is an underlying focus on ranch life that runs throughout the collection.
Each of the artists have works that reflect the landscapes, animals and activities associated with life on the ranch.
“There are a multitude of ranch photos in my repertoire, as this is our family business,” Barger said. “It has brought my family much closer together in the last four years and I felt the need to capture it.”
Samantha Christensen, of Edgemont, South Dakota, came out to support her cousin, Nelson. Christensen said that Nelson’s oil painting, “Night Ride”, was her favorite of Nelson’s works in the gallery.
“It brings back memories of when we were little,” Christensen said. “She captures the magical feeling of being on the plains at night.”
Almost everyone who walked through the door of the gallery was immediately taken in by Nelson’s giant cardboard sculpture of a unicorn head staring them in the face. The sculpture is titled “Unicorn Come to Life”, and contains intricate details, all crafted out of cardboard.
“Some of the things that turned out the best were accidents” Nelson said.
Snyder’s art included work in five different mediums: watercolor, oil paint, photography, glass and ceramics.
“Identity finds its way into my pieces from parts of my physical appearance such as my long hair to other characteristics such as my love of nature, history and animals,” Snyder stated.
A mix of friends, family, students and faculty attended last Friday’s reception. The artists received interest in several of their pieces. Four items from the showcase have been sold so far.
“All the girls are very talented artists,” friends Sydni Stevens, 21, junior of Ogllala, and Emily Johnson, 21, of Mead, Colorado said. “They all have a unique sense of style.”
Both Barger and Snyder will be student teaching next semester. Barger will be student teaching for art in Pierre, South Dakota. Snyder has not yet been placed with a school, but said she was eager to find out where she would be going soon.
Nelson is graduating this December and has plans to return home to work on her family ranch in Philip, South Dakota. She said she hoped to use her degree in Graphic Design to do some side work for a publication company in Philip, South Dakota.

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