At the end of last semester, FSU students submitted artwork they felt proud of, had a special connection to, or worked hard on throughout the semester for the Annual Juried Student Exhibition on Jan. 29.
Out of about 90 submissions, 22 were showcased, and only three pieces received recognition for excellence, said Tim McDonald, professor of art and director of the Mazmanian Art Gallery.
Artist B. Lynch showcased her series “Extravagantly Absurd” at the Mazmanian Art Gallery from Nov. 12 to Dec. 14. She juried the 90 submissions on Dec. 20, choosing the work she felt best represented FSU’s talent.
Lynch was not limited in the number of works she chose. In fact, McDonald said “The only sort of instruction I had [for her] was to choose work that she can see from what’s submitted best represents what it is we do here. … The first-place work generally is something that takes them by surprise and then second and third are usually things that are really well made.”
The students chosen to be a part of the exhibition were, Rinat Natanel, Shayna Yacyshyn, Ema Momtchilova, Nick Carlson, Isaac Vu, Cheryl Thomas, Laura Penney, Brianna Medina, Chad J. Gray, Alejandro Quinones, Noelle Bouvier, Michelle Mazaka, Aemilia Ohop, Allison Kittridge, J. Rubio-Pardo, Hannah Nesbitt, Julie Foran, Kelsey Goossens, Mark Giuguis, Michelle Mazaka, Richard Blair Davies III, and Olivia Holmes.
But ultimately, seniors Olivia Holmes and Shayna Yacyshyn, and sophomore Nick Carlson received recognition.
Holmes, who is an art education major, won first-place for her sculpture “Toothpaste.”
Holmes made a clay sculpture of toothpaste and used 40 toothbrushes in total. She said she pulled out all the toothbrush bristles, making molds of a toothpaste bottle out of plaster and plastic before casting it in resin, and then shoving the toothbrush bristles into the resin as it dried. The “toothpaste” spread out on the shelf in a zig-zag pattern and was only made of toothbrush bristles and could potentially blow away if someone blew on it or hit the shelf too hard.
Holmes said she started her series making a coffee bean before it took off into a whole body of work. “It turned into things related to the morning because I was slowly becoming a morning person. … I had a coffee bean. I had a razor made of soap. And then, I thought of doing a toothbrush.” Another part of her series is a bunch of empty jars with different morning scents per jar.
Holmes said her work is “like a homey place. Everybody can relate to these things and I like things that are very personal.”
While making “Toothpaste,” Holmes said she pretty much “winged” the whole four-month process. “Everything that I do I keep working on. … I was still making adjustments to it right before the show. I ended up pulling the toothpaste itself a little further back from the bristles, because one of my professors and I were talking about how it would allude to more mystery about who set it down and who squeezed it out,” she said.
Even though Holmes isn’t used to making 3D works, she said it made her stretch a little more to try new materials. “Mold making was something I’ve only done a few times before, but the ‘Toothpaste’ piece itself really made me fall in love with it, and I’m looking forward to doing more. … I’m so glad I pushed myself this far. It’s paying off.”
Illustration major Yacyshyn, won second-place for her portrait, “Raven.”
Three of Yacyshyn’s portraits were in the exhibition. She said she at first photographed people really close to her personally, using probably close to 30 photographs before choosing one that she thought had the best lighting, composition, and angles, and then using oil paint on canvas, painting in reference to the photograph.
“I feel like every painting, there’s this turning point … and then I get to this turning point where I can finally start to see the person that I’m painting, and that is the most exciting moment,” she said.
Because Yacychyn is an illustration major, painting is still kind of new to her. She said she has only taken one painting class and hasn’t made more than 10 paintings in her entire life.
“It’s a new thing for me, so as far as my process, I haven’t quite seen that progression yet,” she said.
Artists Michael Dixon, whose series “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” has been in close contact with Yacyshyn since he presented his work in the Mazmanian Art Gallery from Oct. 1 to Oct. 26.
“He has been a really cool role model and influence for sure because his work is so powerful and has that deep human quality to it that I really like. … I’ll send him my paintings and he’ll email me back with different critiques and comments,” Yacyshyn said.
“Raven” and Yacyshyn’s other portraits are part of a series all about the human condition. Throughout the whole project, Yacyshyn said the aim was to “figure out a way to have people be able to look at my paintings and feel the sense of connection that I have with these people. … I feel like in today’s society, there’s so much tension between people, and diversity is lacking. Art is a good way for people of all types to come together and have discussions.”
The background colors that Yacyshyn picked were originally based off the skin tones of people in her portraits, but also match their personalities.
Senior Josh Rumple said, “I think what Shayna did was really cool. How she was able to capture the realism of the moment while also giving it that sort of artsy color pop feel to it. … I feel like the background color kind of matches their moods. ‘Raven’ feels sort of mellow and the other one, ‘Bobby,’ feels sort of bright and happy.”
Studio art and art education major Nick Carlson won third-place for his digital painting, “Consume/Enslave.”
Carlson said he was reading the poet Charles Bukowski, who influenced him during the time he was making his piece.
His work centers around social capitalism and consumerism. However, he said it is up for interpretation. “I don’t like saying what it means because it takes all the air out of it,” he said.
Although Carlson was recognized, he never really worked on the computer and it was only until he took a digital arts class that he started processing his art using Photoshop and a tablet to sketch. He said throughout his process, he tried to make his piece more three dimensional, at first creating a mannequin body below the skull sitting on a white canvas, before deleting the mannequin body completely and drawing televisions.
Carlson said, “I never thought I’d be able to do art with computers, so this is completely different from everything I’ve ever done.”