April 05, 2017

Graduating studio art seniors present Still | Tension

At left, Cassi Henning's "A.M. Preparation Room," oil on canvas. At right, Lizzie Cleary's "Short Black Wave Cage," white stoneware, string and plant.

Four artists, one exhibit: this year's Senior Art Exhibition brings together the work of St. Catherine University's graduating studio art and art education majors. Excelling in a variety of mediums and techniques, each has designed final capstone projects that push them artistically and intellectually. Still | Tension features Felicia Hamann '17, PaJai Vang '17, Cassi Henning '17 and Lizzie Cleary '17, and runs April 8–May 21 at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, with an opening reception on April 8, 6–8 p.m.

As always, the exhibit is juried, which means that students present their work to the entire art faculty, who assess it and give comprehensive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. In addition to preparing for the show, students develop a website, business cards, mailing list and professional portfolio. In short, it's an impressive undertaking.

"What's exciting about this group of graduating art majors is their commitment to strong conceptual thinking behind their respective art forms," says Carol Chase, department chair and associate professor. "There's a diverse range of content and medium, which will appeal to many viewers."

Indeed, from photography to oil paint to sculpture, the aesthetic offerings of these four artists present myriad ways in which visitors can relate to their art. Cleary, for example, offers textural intrigue in a symbolic marriage of living and inanimate in her sculptures, which feature live plants. Meanwhile, Hamann's children's book — her personal favorite — recounts the story of how her mother came to the United States.

Vang's art explores identity in what she describes as a "sculptural deconstruction of portraits."

"In developing my pieces, I thought about the judgments we both face and make in this society, especially in the way we look," Vang says. "I really want viewers to engage in the depth the pieces create, as a way to consciously and physically realize that we share the same values no matter our appearance."

Click here to read about the artists and see more of their work.

"Shave: After Heikki Leis," by Felicia Hamann.

Exhibit events and details

Still | Tension is on view in The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery April 8–May 21, with an opening reception on April 8 from 6–8 p.m. The exhibit runs concurrently with First Thought, Best Thought.

All events are free and open to the public. For gallery hours or more information, visit The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery website.

By Michelle Mullowney '17