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'Art Actually' Spring 2022 BFA exhibition

| Amanda Bulger

The Foster Gallery will present “art actually”, a senior Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition. The exhibit will run April 29 through May 15 and features the capstone projects of fifteen bachelor of fine arts students from the department of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. A reception will take place on Sunday, May 1, 1-2:30pm. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

Participants include Trey Baker, Bailey Bataille, Gabby Hicks, Victor Hofmeister, Emily Kuipers, Noelle Koenig, Caitlyn Kviz, Andrew Mundinac, Kate Netwal, Jennifer Olson, Kala Rehberger, Daniel Reich, Katie Sickman, McKayla Siegel, and Richie Xiong.

Trey Baker is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Bloomer, Wisconsin, and will be presenting a series of digital print posters revolving around some of the main tourist cities in Japan, which incorporates the cities own characteristics and aesthetics. Trey says, “I’ve always enjoyed the Japanese culture, so making sure that I bring that feel into these specific pieces was important to me, as well as making sure the color palettes all worked well together in creating a very cohesive piece.”

Bailey Bataille is a senior illustration BFA candidate from Minnesota, and will be exhibiting five digital illustrations of a book her grandmother wrote, Witch’s Cat. Bailey says the book was never published and her grandmother never finished the story until Bailey fell in love with the character of the cat. “My art style is very influenced by Disney, warner brothers, DreamWorks, and the old illustrations in old fairy tale storybooks.”

Gabby Hicks is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Oakdale, Minnesota, and will be exhibiting six works that display emotions through digital and mixed media. Gabby says, “I would describe my work as very expressive. Because I chose to take an abstract route when designing each emotion, I had to think about different shapes and colors that would be associated with them. The original idea came from a final project that I did my freshman year. I did the same ideas and emotions, but I had a figure that was in each of the compositions to show body language. I wanted to show how I have grown as an artist and display each emotion in an abstract manner.”

Victor Hofmeister is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, and will be exhibiting a mixed media branding project containing a video interview, sketches, a logo print, business cards, and a website prototype display. Victor says, “My work is centralized in the identity of Elevate Exposures, a start-up photography company. It details the creation of the brand, the process of developing a logo, business cards, website interface, and the final products. Rather than just displaying the final products, I wanted to take the viewer through my journey and process to get a “behind-the-scenes” look at how a brand comes to life.”

Emily Kuipers is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Cadott, Wisconsin, and will be exhibiting a cookbook containing family recipes that she designed, printed, and hand bound. Emily says, “My artwork is both creative and analytical, organic yet structured. My design work tends to be more minimalistic in nature, while my other artwork is more detail oriented and often focused on accurate portrayals of my chosen subject.”

Noelle Koenig is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Pine Island, Minnesota. Noelle will exhibit a series of linocut prints about curiosity. Noelle says, “I’ve always been a curious person. The feelings evoked by these posters, both in the quotes and by the quality of the prints, have something to say about me. They are a kind of expression of who I am, as well as what other curious people can relate to too.”

Caitlyn Kviz is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Mount Pleasant, Illinois. Caitlyn will be exhibiting a series of screen prints influenced by her background in music and theater. Caitlyn says, “I find it interesting how music can tie us back to certain memories or points in time. I’m inspired by the bright colors and bold messaging of the Pop Art movement, so I combined these to make colorful posters that explore different meanings of songs we listen to and what they say about our current time.”

Andrew Mundinac is an illustration BFA candidate from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Andrew is exhibiting a series of digital paintings based on the characters in a story-based podcast, as well as several variations of other brand elements such as a logo and cover art design at different stages of the design process. Andrew says, “The illustrations reflect the relatively playful, light-hearted, yet also serious tone of the podcast. My mission in creating these visual representations of the characters from the show was not only to give the viewer a face to put to a voice but also a small glimpse into the essence of the characters and what makes each of them unique.”

Kate Netwal is an illustration BFA candidate who is exhibiting four digital paintings. Kate says, "My art is inspired by everyday life. The things that make us human and the relationships that we have with ourselves and others in our lifetimes have always been of great interest to me. I aim to capture moments in time with my digital paintings. I love to use graphic shapes and color to illustrate scenes from real life." Kate plans to stay in Eau Claire after graduation and become more involved in running the Eau Claire Maker's Market. 

Jennifer Olson is a senior illustration BFA candidate from Luck, Wisconsin, and will be exhibiting four sci-fi themed digital illustrations. Jennifer says, “My artwork is heavily influenced by sci-fi movies, books, games, artists, etc. I actually watched many sci-fi movies while making these pieces. Movies like Dune, the Star Wars movies, Interstellar, etc., helped me to stay inspired while I work. I would describe my illustrations as pieces that draw you in by their wonder. I use environments and elements that are familiar but then add a twist. I usually have one special aspect of my illustrations that end up being the focal point, and my point of wonder.”

Kala Rehberger is s senior ceramics BFA candidate from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and will be exhibiting a collection of sculptures built with ceramic tiles, wire, and mixed media. These pieces tell stories regarding the human experience, as well as personal identities. Kala says, “My work is inspired by various psychological concepts, such as identity, consciousness, and reality. I am also influenced by classic horror movies, suspense, and uneasiness.”

Daniel Reich is senior graphic design BFA candidate from DePere, Wisconsin and will be exhibiting a series of 5 large acrylic typographic still life paintings titled “Eat Your Heart Out, Daniel Reich.” Each work has one or two phrases that layer over one another, all coming together to build new a new context for the viewer. Daniel says, “I would describe these works as graphic and postmodern. These works were inspired by artists like Corita Kent, Ed Ruscha, and Marcel Majerus. I looked to artists who paint typography in radical ways, as well as movements like Pop Art and Dada, which use absurdity and pop culture to influence the viewer.”

Katie Sickman is a graphic design BFA candidate from Charles City, Iowa. She has created a hypothetical brand, ‘Quiet Café', and will present a brand guide, an apron and cap with embroidered logos, and custom coffee cup sleeve. When working on the project, Katie said, “The brand idea was developed from thinking about what my ideal environment for getting work done may be. I would imagine the setting of the café having lots of open space, with many windows and greenery to create a warm atmosphere.”

McKayla Siegel is senior graphic design BFA candidate from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and will be showing a series of relief prints that combine her desire to illustrate the outdoors while promoting hope and spirit among the different seasons of our lives. McKayla says, “My work invites viewers to pause and reflect on the meaning of life events or repeating themes. I hope to inspire others to accept life’s random collection of seasons and for a moment to just pause and see this perspective as optimistic.”

Richie Xiong is a senior illustration BFA candidate from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and he will be exhibiting a series of traditionally graphite and colored pencil drawings on paper influenced by his culture. Richie says, “The series about my Hmong identity reflects on my experiences of being a Hmong American. It is a combination of graphite and color pencils to express the feeling of being separated but at the same time being connected. My second series is an original character who is a Hmong woman. She is physically built, and I wanted to create a muscular female character because I was inspired by negative comments about women who go to the gym. Also, I am a huge fan of strong female characters.”

Installation view of Kala Rehberger's ceramic tile projects

Installation view of BFA exhibition, featuring ceramic works by Kala Rehberger