Senior Projects, Fall 2020
Virtual Catalog and Artist's Website Links
At the end of their studies, art majors are required to develop and present a coherent body of self-generated work. This exhibition combines their knowledge of techniques and concepts while drawing on research of historical and contemporary artists. Each senior art major in the exhibition designs and creates a unique installation that combines their technical skills and conceptual vision.
Sponsored by Alice and Dean Fjelstul, The Layden Family Foundation, The Smith Family Foundation of Estero and WGCU Public Media
Senior Project is the capstone course for Art majors at Florida Gulf Coast University. While engaging in the course each artist establishes connections to art history and contemporary artists while also developing a deeper understanding of the concepts that inspire their work. The result is a significant body of artworks tied together by concept and inspiration.
This group of artists rose to tremendous challenges that arrived with the Fall of 2020. They remained focused and determined to create. At the heart of the work they produced is a search for identity and what drives us both individually and collectively. The work beautifully reflects their concerns while describing the human condition through documentation and poetic play.
Heartfelt congratulations to each of the participating artists.
Thank you for sharing your insights with us all.
~ Andy Owen
Faculty Mentor, Fall 2020 Senior Projects
Jamie BaderToggle More Info
My senior project, Implicit, focuses on the daily and rampant racism our society has chosen to ignore. American students are taught implicitly through media, education, and family relationships how to treat others. More often than not, those lessons are exclusionary. These actions are often not realized by those who do them, because they are not affected by their own words. Blatant racism today will result in social backlash, but off-handed comments and jokes are socially acceptable and fly under the radar. These 'small' and inconspicuous actions demean human beings and permit values that are no longer acceptable. To compare the United States to a human body, casual racism lies in the bloodstream, undetected by onlookers, and cannot be removed without acknowledgement.
The topic of race is complicated. I have collected research from a variety of scholastic sources, educators, and my peers to have my project be as real to life as possible. Fighting for what is right is very important to me and always has been. Every single person on Earth deserves respect and I want to show that that is currently not happening.
This project was made with acrylic paint on canvas. These are the materials I have found the most success with. Every week I would sit down on the floor of my apartment and paint with my canvas set up leaning on a wall. My living room became my studio and although I have a lot of paint to get out of my carpet and probably have cat hair within my pieces, I feel accomplished and I hope my work resonates.
Susana BakerToggle More Info
Growing up was fun for me and I enjoyed the magic of make believe as well as the amazing thing that is our world. As a child, story telling was a big part of my life and I want to show that through my work, whether it be in 2D through photographs or 3D through sculpture. The stories we grow up with fade in their enthusiasm over time and we just see them as normal, however we do not realize how close they are to becoming fantasy. For example the story of the lion king can be taken many different ways. While some just see it as a cute Disney movie and others a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I see it as something amazing because it has the enormous creatures that come from a place so far from me and that I can only see in pictures and the occasional zoo. Now that I am older I know that these magnificent creatures are dying out and it is not something people think about as this story and so many others regarding the larger endangered animals are so prevalent in today’s society.
I want my work to bring that awareness. I would also like to show my own life and learnings through my work and thus I have decided to create puppets and animatronics of these animals. The puppets move via stepper motors and can tell a story while reminding us of the toys we had as a child and loved so much. The movement also brings a life to each of the animals that we can normally only see in videos or in person. It is the same reason that museums have moving displays, however it is still a restricted display and very rarely interactive. I want to use these puppets as ways to bring people closer to the animals. My project is interactive as the puppets, being the main piece, are designed to be carried around. This bridges the gap between these animals and people as we would normally not be able to interact with the animals in real life.
Anna BrooksToggle More Info
The idea embodied in my work was to explore the relationship between myself and finding my personal identity. Researching the psychological theories of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud reveals that they had a different way of determining when or how someone might find their identity. I gravitated towards Carl Jung’s work throughout my search. Jung’s idea of being imprinted through ancestors and looking back to our origins and how they might influence who you are today was eye opening.
These ideas have helped me explore who I am and inspire the work that I have created. Always being self-aware of who I was on the outside I started struggling to find out what my true identity. I chose to use photographs to document my search because photography has always been a big part of my life. Along this journey I feel like I have absolutely found a way to capture parts of my identity. While creating this body of work I have become more comfortable about who I am. From the knowledge that I now have about identity I think that each of use has our own way of finding it. I believe that finding our identity may for some of us be everchanging.
I used photo transfers to create this work. Taking photos that helped to depict my identity I then put them into illustrator and edited them there until it felt right. Turning the photos into PDF files I printed them in preparation for the photo transfers. Using masking tape I secured my paper as well as the photo, then started applying the wintergreen oil. After the oil has been applied I used various types of spoons to rub the photo until I have the results I am looking for.
Janet CombsToggle More Info
Keenly aware of the global pandemic COVID-19, I am extremely interested in learning how the homeless are affected by a virus that knows no limits and has the ability to take all without regard to race, sex, religion or financial status. People living outside of four walls are one of our most fragile and at-risk groups. I am concentrating on a demographic of people who are often overlooked as we grapple with how to handle this population when we are not in a global pandemic. I seek to learn and expose how the homeless are individually affected by disease risk from their own personal point of view. By conducting informal, causal interviews and making photographic portraits with homeless people, I will shed light upon how the pandemic is affecting the people who both choose to live on the street and those who feel they have no other place to go. The CDC has just released proof that this novel Coronavirus is spread through the air and the six-foot distance rule is not enough to protect humans from contact. It is important to learn how a homeless person feels about moving into shelters vs. living in outdoor encampments, or even accepting hand-outs in a time when a friendly hand-shake greeting is taboo.
Memory is a gift - and a fleeting one at that – and, as the world revolves, I see the homeless who are blatantly visible to me, yet become invisible as I return to my home and shut the door on them – and the germs that are seemingly trying to invade my personal space. I use photography to document the world around me, and to draw attention to things that are often overlooked. By putting a personal story with a face, I focus on a moment in time after engaging with people in an environment they find themselves most comfortable or uncomfortable in. Making time to stop and talk to America’s homeless population wherever I travel, spending a few minutes listening to individuals who often tell me about their plight and how they ended up in their current situation, and making portraits with them gives a voice if only for a moment. Homelessness is a universal human condition I call the ‘invisible visible’.
My methods are born out of my personality: as a genuine people lover and a believer in the inherent good of mankind, I approach strangers with a smile. My natural instinct for street smarts along with the gift of common sense regarding my own personal safety have served me well over the years that I have been communicating with strangers. My camera often times serves as the ice-breaker that starts a conversation as many homeless people will call out to me as I walk by and ask if I will take their photo. Knowing they may never see a hard copy I have been asked to email or text a far away relative which I happily do. As it turns out, the visible do not necessarily want to remain invisible, and they are not shy about asking or engaging me to make portraits with them. Not surprisingly to me, they actually care about the image I have made and ask to be sure I use "the best one" or feature their "good side."
Rachel DobesToggle More Info
Always haunted by Durer’s woodcut The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse I’ve wanted to deconstruct the image. I kept wishing that each horseman had his own setting rather than crowd all four men and horses together. Historic images often depict the action of a scene and rarely reveal the results. Babylon is the first source of this end of the world prophecy where the gods send diseases, famines, in severe cases a flood whenever they desire. Groups of people and cultures after picked and chose the features from this and added and modified it to what their beliefs and views would be. There is a formula to the world ending. First, a cataclysmic event, a transition and the result is paradise. Modern cults prepare by bunkering down and stock piling resources and weapons. Both old and new age beliefs have a notion of balance, that transgressions committed in our known time of existence will be righted and made pure.
As a young child I had panic attacks if I thought about death. I would sob when my goldfish died because I had to come to terms that that is going to happen to myself but also my friends and family. I chose to draw horses because they have nothing to do with human events often suffer the consequences of our actions. When training a horse trust is earned. Once established the horse will follow their rider anywhere. Being involved in the training of a few horses I wanted to show their loyalty. For these reasons I have depicted the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the following ways: Conquer’s horse has been shot by the enemy. War’s rider has died and is searching for them though it is too late. Famine has lost his rider and has run too far into the desert. The horse depicting Death/Plague is roaming the liminal realm with grief and doom following in the dust trails.
Brennon HusemanToggle More Info
The term Pareidolia refers to the human tendency or phenomenon to perceive patterns, objects, or meaning in places that typically would not have them. An example would be seeing shapes in clouds or seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns. While some people attribute this phenomenon to them receiving spiritual signs or being sent personal messages from an unknown sender, I embrace the random beauty and complexities of the world and how our brains perceive them. Using pareidolia as an artistic device, my goal was to show a visual process of evolving naturally occurring or everyday images from life into surrealist paintings and drawings. The images stemmed from photographs I took and automatism experiments such as dropping ink onto paper and seeing what forms could be identified.
The first step in my three-step process involved photographing an area of interest that held suggestable organic forms that I could turn into realized subjects. For the next step I printed a copy of the photograph and began to paint or draw over the photo to identify forms I had perceived. On the final step I took the outlines of step two and painted them onto a new surface. During the transition from outline to painting I took creative liberties in changing position and scale of the outlined subjects while crafting the new composition. I also included works made through automatism techniques. The different sets of works show the process of finding pareidolic images naturally vs creating the effect myself. In the works where I used automatism, I used ink and water to create random forms; I then drew and painted over the forms that I identified out of the random occurrence. Throughout the process of making these works I now see pareidolic patterns and forms more frequently than ever before.
Gianna MigliozziToggle More Info
For my senior project, I explored the connection between memory and music, and the psychology behind the theory of flow. By taking the image of people who have impacted my life and creating it out of song lyrics that I have shared memories attached to I bring forth the question of how we remember people; is it by their appearance, the things they say, or some other factor? I have found that a person is more likely to have vivid memory when music is present due to the emotions that will surface caused by the song. This idea plays into my senior project because part of the reason I chose these songs was due to the happy memories that I have attached them to. Flow is considered to be a state of mind a person can reach when they are deeply present in the work that they are doing; when in this state, nothing else matters and it is common to lose track of time. The theory of flow is shown in the work itself, as I reach the state of flow through the repetition of the words while creating my art.
Repetition has always been prevalent in my work as an artist. I find order in the chaos and peace in the process when making art that has a repetitiveness to it. The subjects of my pieces are friends and family that have played roles in key moments of my life such as my younger sister, best friends, former roommate, and sister-in-law. In terms of the songs, they were chosen based on strong memories that I share with these people. Hey Everybody by 5 Seconds of Summer makes up the face of my sister because it was the opening song of the first concert we went to together.
Madeline (Maddy) MillerToggle More Info
Understanding the complexities of the human mind has challenged many people throughout history. Individuals such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung have contributed two major keys that have helped unlock answers to questions regarding why humans think the way we do. The keys provided were defining the subconscious mind and identifying stream of consciousness. The subconscious is the portion of our minds that we are not able to recognize but has a major role in our decision making and emotions. Stream of consciousness is the term for an individual’s thought process and conscious reactions to events. These thoughts and reactions are described as a continuous flow. The three scenes that I created were influenced by surreal juxtaposition because it is known to help people tap into their subconscious mind.
Throughout my artistic journey I have often wondered why I create a piece first and assign it meaning post creation. When I create, the order starts with an image in my mind. The image constantly changes and grows until its completion. The idea does not have any conscious meaning to me as I bring it to life. My additions are based from the joy or lack of it that I feel when looking at the piece and I know that it is done when I start to smile. I am then left with a complete piece that lacks a title or known meaning. Later, I feel obligated to assign the piece a false meaning. I created my scenes with the same process but this time I did not assign them meanings that were untrue. I discovered that meaning hid behind what I thought were random ideas such as body type, color, and gender. True meaning was alive in my subconscious and was finally brought to the surface in my conscious mind.
Emily SchaffToggle More Info
Hikikomori (hee-kee-koh-MOH-ree) is a severe form of social withdrawal in individuals who choose to isolate themselves at home for prolonged periods: at least six months by definition. Although, in the most severe cases, the individual will spend several years alone in their rooms. This phenomenon is not a mental illness but a social issue. The word hikikomori is a term used for both the situation and the individuals themselves. Hikikomori were first observed in Japan in the early 2000s and was thought to be a culture-bound syndrome. Since then, many people worldwide have found themselves living in extreme seclusion. Various reasons could make someone want to live this way, such as feeling rejected by society or feeling unsuccessful. The cost of living, high college tuition, and rising competition in the job market have made it harder for a generation of young people to leave their homes to start their adult life. Those pressures, along with personal issues, can drive one to become severely reclusive.
I chose hikikomori as my subject to bring awareness to social withdrawal in the west. I have watched a couple of my friends become hikikomori. When wanting to come out of their secluded lifestyle they struggled with integrating themselves back into society as a result. It is essential to talk about these young people who are shutting themselves away, especially during a time like the coronavirus outbreak that has forced many young adults back into living with relatives. It is a situation that may push many ‘would-be’ hikikomori into maintaining a permanent ‘stay-at-home’ lifestyle. I feel strongly that this phenomenon needs to be recognized globally—because it is not just a problem unique to Japan at this point. By talking about severe social withdrawal, we can try to understand the issues coming from these individuals and help comfortably integrate them back into society if they so choose. Additionally, we can prevent cases like this from happening by reaching out to those we feel are struggling to feel socially accepted.