This year's senior art exhibition at Dickinson State University is called "Faceted Passions," a name intended to set this showcase apart from previous years, according to one of the six DSU senior artists.
"A lot of titles for the senior exhibitions are kind of lame," Eden Jackson said. "They'll be like 'The Grand Finale' or "Our Big Show" and ... just not very creative. We're in a creative field, and we're very very passionate ... so that's where passions came in, and faceted is multi-sided, many angles. So each of us show our passions in different ways."
That's what the name of the show means, the show being the annual senior art exhibition at DSU. The senior art exhibition is the final exam for art majors or minors, who must craft an art piece for display at DSU's own Mind's Eye Gallery.
Jackson chose photography for her art.
"Photography is a little bit faster than waiting for an oil painting to dry and it's a little bit of a cleaner medium for me," Jackson said. Her pieces are in the style of Dutch painters, famed for their "vanitas"-paintings intended to demonstrate the vanity and brevity of life. Half of Jackson's work evokes classical styles and elements-still life pieces assembled from various objects, all with symbolic value. The other half is similar in style, but tosses out the classics and brings in electronics-jumbles of cracked iphones, broken circuit boards and obsolete technology encircle a grinning skull.
"Then I transitioned vanitas into what I would consider to be modern-day vanitas, which would be electronics. Electronics are a part of the perceived obsolescence which emerged in the 1950s, where they make things to either be breakable like a lot of our phones or laptops or they make things to go out of style, out of fashion."
The skull motif, along with all the other images-fruit, bubbles, transitory objects-represents the passage of time and the inevitability of death.
A few feet away from Jackson's photographs stands a charming set table of ceramic coffee mugs, origami cranes and java bean aerial displays.
"I've been working at a local coffee shop for the last three years," Emily Maher said. "I wanted to incorporate my love of coffee and my passion-maybe if I wanted to open up my own little coffee shop and integrate that into the art world."
The origami cranes hearken to the famous story of a young girl, a victim of the Hiroshima bombing during WWII, who attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes while lying in a hospital sickbed. The origami crane is a symbol for Maher, who lovingly etched it as a homemade logo onto her ceramic mugs.
Michaela Gorman drew oil paintings reflecting the journey of life, the passing of seasons, the directions of space and time.
"A lot of it comes from my culture," Gorman said. "I come from the Navajo nation in Arizona, and a lot of it ... is a representation of myself."
Abstract lines form a roughly human shape, while the pictures themselves tell a story of a young foal growing into adulthood and then declining into maturity.
Derek Huether, the sole male of the six DSU seniors, also worked in oil paintings. He'd assembled upon the wall a collection of vivid greens that seemed almost luminous-a collection of landscapes, rural and untamed. The goal was to showcase differences through similarities.
""If they were diverse, they'd just be seperate pieces of work," Huether said. "Whereas if they are similar, the viewer can pick out some contrasts, make some comparisons of their own."
Much of the art was personal to the artists themselves. For Casey Pearson, her stoneware flowerpots not only reflect her love of gardening, but also of the meaningful moments that nourished that love.
"My dad gave me for my birthday one year a 'plant-your-own sunflower.' It's just one tiny little sunflower; you grew it in a little pot and it grew into this giant sunflower," she said. "That's where I got my sunflower (theme), and it's my favorite flower."
Ashley Olson's art was a challenge to put together. Having changed majors several times, Olson had less time than most to put her project together, but adversity resulted in creativity. Using watercolors, she vividly presented close-up examinations of plants as seen through a microscope in lush color.
"I knew I wanted to do something with nature, and I like Zentangle, which is like repetition of shapes, and so I really enjoy the process behind art and creating art," Olson said. "I wanted something bright and colorful."
The students art will be displayed in the gallery in the basement of Klinefelter Hall on the DSU campus for the whole of the month of April. A reception is planned for April 15 starting at 3 p.m.