By Jacoby Bancroft
Students were given an outlet to showcase their imaginations and creativity through select works of art over the course of two weeks for the BFA Midway Exhibition.
The art displayed at the open gallery explored individual messages and themes crafted by five select students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the University of Nevada, Reno and provided an open space for the public to discuss and examine each artist’s selection.
“It allowed other students and artists to see what this competitive program could offer and the kind of professionals it produces,” said UNR student and gallery participant Erin Shearin.
“Through these free of charge exhibitions, we also unite the school under one roof to enjoy an evening of art and fun conversation.” The gallery opened Feb. 17 and ran for two weeks in the Jot Travis Building, giving students and faculty a chance to enjoy the wide diversity of art and allowing the student artists to gain valuable curatorial practice.
Shearin is currently pursuing a minor in archeology along with her major the fine arts program. Her required anthropology and environmental classes helped influence her work, and with the exhibition, she wanted to send a message to the public about evolution and climate change.
She pushed viewers to question their own thoughts and beliefs about the controversial subjects. “I want to create a dialog between viewers on how they feel about evolution, which is a touchy subject, and climate change, which people are still up in the air about,” Shearin said.
“Creating that dialog leads to where do you stand, what do you think, is it possible, because it’s more of an internal prospect.” The other artists presenting in the gallery also drew from additional passions to express messages through their art.
UNR student David Tilley used his love of geography and regionalism to craft his work. By implementing cartography and the imagery of the landscape, Tilley managed to create personal narratives about man’s surroundings.
Other artists turned inward for inspiration. UNR student Matthew Aaker used his upbringing to influence his art. Growing up gay in a conservative family was difficult for him, and he wanted to express to the public how that affected his views on relationships, but not have it defined as just one thing.
“I wanted it to kind of have that aspect, but then open up so other people can kind of put their own perspective on it, and sort of walk up to it and see themselves in the work too,” Aaker said.
With the Midway Exhibition, students and faculty were able to provide feedback to the artists about their work, an opportunity which Aaker found to be helpful and beneficial.
“You put up a work, and you are not sure how it is going to go,” Aaker said. “Then a teacher tells you this is really working or to fine tune some things, so (the feedback) really does help.”
The exhibition gave both viewers and artists something to walk away with. Students and faculty were given a chance to observe and comment on an interesting medium of expression while the artists were able to begin honing their skills as professionals.
Director of University Galleries Paul Prindle saw the exhibition as a great experience for the artists and proud of the feedback they received from viewers. “We were impressed with the quality of work and happy to see such a large audience and response,” Prindle said.
Jacoby Bancroft can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.