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Winter BFA Art Show Odyssey

April 22nd - May 10th, 2019
Reception: April 25th, 4 - 6 pm

This exhibition features artwork by the Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates and serves as a completion of their undergraduate program. Featured student artists include Anna Slavin in Painting/Drawing, Howie Eagle in Photography, Raul Avel (Hajiyev) in Graphic Design and Tylar Elizabeth (Greer-Travis) in Graphic Design.

Anna Slavin

Artist Statement

In order to step into other shoes, so to speak, I had to step out of my comfort zone and work around the cliche images that would come to mind when envisioning life as someone else. This included working on and with materials that were new to me that would encourage me to find new ways of expressing ideas. My assemblage paintings combine both two-dimensional and three-dimensional elements in ways that are open for interpretation rather than telling an obvious story. I use found objects from varied sources alongside acrylic paints and computer printouts to create my paintings. I couple unlikely images and objects where I may see a visual connection that adds to the concept of the piece. Each painting consequently may have a theme possibly about a person, position, place or feeling. I realized the images do not need to make sense to everyone; their connection to the idea may not always be clear. This allows the viewer to create their own dialogue based on their own inferences and experiences.

During the creative process, one of the first choices I decide on is the color scheme. By using selective colors on mostly black and white images, I am able to draw attention more to certain areas while also maintaining a balance within the composition. Using paint drips, splatters, and radiating lines, I’m able to pull the viewers’ eyes in certain directions to unify the image. Mirrors are used as a way to unify the painting with the space around it, not only reflecting the environment but also the viewer, making them a part of the image and creating a direct connection.

[...]

Through my work, it is my hope that a discussion can be started about the many ways we all see the same thing. I have explored roles and places differently from my own daily life, and hope that others are able to walk away with an open mind. A mind that is more understanding of those around them and sees every passerby as someone with their own vivid life.

Howie Eagle (H.D. Eagle)

examples of student howie eagle's artwork

Artist Statement

[...]  In many societies, gods and goddesses have a connection to their environments, reflect societal norms, and symbolize what is most valued in that culture. Gods and goddesses are a manifestation of people in their deepest and truest form. The images in Pilgrimage of the Gods follow in this tradition; they are an exploration of the aspects of my life experiences, manifested through the forms of gods and goddesses.

This series is a self-reflective study using my pantheon of gods and goddesses to represent different aspects of me and events that have shaped who I am. For this series, I chose to make photographic altarpieces. The central iconic images are plain black and white images with overhead lighting to make the figure glow and to display his or her symbol. The outer images explain the center image and the power of the god or goddess by portraying the miracles of the figure.

[...]

As a series of myth and self-reflection, Pilgrimage of the Gods portrays my pantheon of divinities to convey parts of myself. With conceptual aspects inspired by the works of Campbell, Michaels, Caravaggio, and Tenneson and with the combination of formal elements used to make the models as gods. My work explores the human and the manifestations that come from themselves creating a vast world of wonder and spiritual contemplation.

Raul Avel Hajiyev

Artist Statement

I have always thought of design as a tool to solve problems. Because I believe that, right approach to a problem through design, can lead us to the answers we search for and one of the problems that have always concerned me was the negative impact of modern world on environment. However, it challenged me to look from a different perspective and solve a presented problem using the power of design.

[...]

The negative environmental impact of humanity on nature has always bothered me, especially because of the very city I grew up in. It was named as the most polluted city in the world because of the relocation of many toxic factories by the Soviet Union. The pollution caused by the factories and plants ranked the city of Sumgait as the number one city for pollution and childbirth death in the world. That’s why I have always felt a personal responsibility to help in some way. The project Ekogai is a design approach to offer a solution for the environmental impact of modern-day consumerism, which has been the main reason for pollution. 

Before the design process begins on paper, I try to set the mood based on the story or the theme of the project.  Setting up the mood clarifies the design process and gives me an idea on both graphic elements and font choices which gives me a starting point. For my project, I started setting the mood by first focusing on the theme and demographics. Once I set the mood, all of my designs usually start on paper with a sketch. This not only gives me freedom but it also makes it easy to visualize the concept or the “end goal”. 

[...]

Ekogai is a different approach to graphic design offering solutions for potentially important problems through the use of non-traditional materials for packaging design while using design tools to have an impact on the world’s problems by providing creative choices of materials. I believe that design has the power to bring the changes the world most desperately needs. 

Tylar Elizabeth Greer-Travis

Artist Statement

“The black person is the protagonist in most of my paintings. I realized that I didn't see many paintings with black people in them.” This is a quote from Jean-Michel Basquiat, which I think is still relevant today. In my art you see black figures, mostly women. My goal is to create images that show the beauty and elegance of a black woman. I enjoy developing these images that I can relate to. I think it’s necessary to show positive images, considering that’s not how African Americans are portrayed. Black women are either nonexistent or stereotyped. As an artist, I have the opportunity to tell a different narrative. With the art being on clothing it allows for a mobile canvas. A constant reminder that we exist. I enjoy creating, but creating with a message, makes for a stronger work of art.

[...]

When creating a work of art, I go through stages of deciding how it should look. When creating an illustration, I draw out the image first on paper and then scan it into the computer. I found this way to be easier for me because it allows me to get my ideas on paper and adjust the drawing in Illustrator.  Sketching my ideas out helps sometimes, but I change my mind so much that the sketch would come out completely different than what I started with.  I’m completely fine with that, as it comes out better than I imagined. I may come off indecisive to people, but I think that’s an exciting part of being an artist. You’re always seeing another opportunity on making the artwork improve.

All gallery exhibitions, lectures and receptions are free and open to the public. Click the following link for open gallery hours or call (989) 964-2291. The University Art Gallery is located in the Arbury Fine Arts Center on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University, svsu.edu/go/visit/maps/.

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