Fine arts majors prepare for exhibitions

Emily Cope

A common formula for estimating for how much time a student should spend on classwork outside of a given course in one week is to multiply the number of credit hours by three.

If senior fine arts major Matthew Scaggs had to estimate that figure for one of his classes, he would multiply his credit hours by 10.

This might seem like a nightmare to some students, but to fine arts majors it is typical for their senior project.

Several fine art seniors have completed their senior projects this semester and are now displaying their exhibitions locally.

Art professor Darice Polo said the senior project is the last process fine arts students go through, and it is the culmination of all they’ve learned.

During the semester, students work to create a body of work they will exhibit. They come up with a concept for their show at the beginning of the semester, Polo said, and then create all new works. At the end of semester students must organize, hang and advertise for their own exhibition. They also must write a two-page thesis and orally defend their work to three professors.

Scaggs said his senior project was a rewarding but challenging experience.

“It is hard work and takes up a lot of hours,” he said. “I know a painting looks really easy to do, but there’s a lot of pressure. It’s different in fine arts. You put something personal in work, then you hang it on a wall and have to orally defend it. I think sometimes people still have this romantic idea of art and don’t realize what goes into it.”

Scaggs said the best thing he learned was that if someone works on a problem and takes his time he can develop something that’s truly worth doing.

James Young said the senior project was helpful and gave him new insight into curators’ jobs.

“It is like baby steps to the real art world,” Young said. “It took us two hours just to get (the artists’ names) in letters done. It’s tough; no one walks you through the process. But everyone has to pay dues. I have learned to respect curators’ staff now.”

Scaggs, Young, Kate Oulton and Ryan Burdzinski have their senior show BFA Group Exhibition at the School of Art Gallery in the Art Building until tomorrow.

Oulton said the show was unique and fresh.

“There are a lot of bright colors and loud visual noise,” Oulton said. “It’s fun. All of us seem to be working with the physicality of our work. We’re all pushing boundaries in different ways.”

The show is worth attending because it’s not the typical senior exhibition, Young said.

“It’s four different ways to look at visual art,” he said. “It’s pretty wild and challenges ideas. A lot of times students go the safe route with senior shows. But everyone in this show did what they wanted to with their art and pushed the envelope. That’s ballsy when you’re just a senior in college.”

Polo said the senior shows are particularly important for art students to attend.

“Students need to attend the shows to get a sense of what is possible,” she said. “They can see possibilities with how to organize senior shows. And see other students who have been successful with in the program. It can give more insight into what is expected of them.”

The closing reception of the exhibition is from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening in the Art Building.

Contact College of the Arts reporter Emily Cope at [email protected].