The Foster Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is pleased to announce the opening of “Prismatic,” the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) senior exhibition. It features artwork by 10 BFA candidates: Carly Bower, August Carlson, Cassandra Carlson, Chris Gale, Scout McKnight, Megan Miller, Kaden Ofstad, Jackson Orta, Hannah Polzin and Emily Popp.
The exhibition will be on view from Nov. 29-Dec. 17, with a closing reception from 5-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. All Foster Gallery exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.
Carly Bower is a graphic design BFA candidate from Green Bay who has created an installation of a tattoo studio space with an American traditional emphasis. American traditional tattooing requires an appreciation of historical context and meaning passed down from generation to generation. Bower says, “My inspiration comes from the tangible pieces of history I collect and surround myself with. They document the intersection of art history, graphic design and illustration that has fostered my artistic development and led to my unique entanglement with tattooing. Tattooing is a dynamic medium that is permanent on the body yet grows and dies with it. As an art form, tattoos challenge our perceptions of intent and ownership. We cannot view material, process, subject or language as indications of origin, age or context the same way we view other works. Because of its duality as living art, we must perceive tattooing as a collaborative performance between the artist, the client and the human body.”
August Carlson is a senior illustration BFA candidate from Buffalo, Minnesota, and they will be exhibiting three digital illustrations engaging with stories they wrote throughout their childhood. Carlson says, “My work embraces the joy of storytelling through themes of fantasy, nature, escapism and queer identity. I am influenced by other queer artists and storytellers who seek that same joy.” Carlson plans to stay in Eau Claire after graduation and continue creating.
Cassandra Carlson is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Rice Lake and will be exhibiting a three-piece collection of work called “Colorspace,” including a printed zine that details light, color theory and color psychology, alongside a plexiglass sculpture in the shape of a pentagon that demonstrates color mixing. As a dip in the digital world, the piece will also show a small AR animation viewable on smartphones. Carlson says, “My art is mainly influenced by exploration and trying new things. I am influenced by new technology and finding ways to integrate art into those spaces.”
Chris Gale is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Spooner. He will be exhibiting one animated short along with seven auxiliary posters consisting of a title poster and six infographics. Gale says, “My work is a direct product of my environment and personal interests. I want to showcase my own abilities while educating others on a subject ingested by many but understood by few. I plan on teaching art in whatever way I can while continuing my personal studio work. I hope to one day leave my mark in the animation world while being able to create stories and worlds full time.”
Scout McKnight is a senior illustration BFA candidate from Anoka, Minnesota. He will be exhibiting a short comic with accompanying prints, along with a unique accordion fold spread showcasing the comic in its entirety. McKnight says, “To be a comic illustrator is to take the written words of these characters and give them visual form — to display the characters in the round, investing the audience in their stories within the limited binding of the front and back cover. Before delving into my future exploring the lives of my own characters, I wanted to explore my own world — to become a character and understand how complex experiences, such as intense art block and self-doubt, can translate to page. ‘I Don’t Know What I’m Doing’ follows the vulnerable journey of myself and my relationship with my characters as I navigate the proverbial Wild West of the art world, utter freedom of creation.”
Megan Miller is a senior painting and drawing BFA candidate from Bloomington, Minnesota. She will be exhibiting original oil paintings, each depicting interior spaces combined with landscapes. Miller says, “My series of paintings, ‘Connected Spaces,’ addresses the concepts and themes of spatial identity and memory. The concept of spatial identity and the ways that we give meaning to places by simply existing within them continues to serve as an inspiration for my work. Pairing this with personal memories of locations that hold emotional significance within my life resulted in creating surrealistic spaces that combine landscape elements with features of interior spaces.” Miller’s future plans include graduate school with the hopes of teaching higher education studio art courses.
Kaden Ofstad is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Lakeville, Minnesota. He will be exhibiting three large-scale oil self-portraits from different stages of his youth, collaged with artifacts from his childhood that he has collected over the years, the majority of which being Pokémon cards. Alongside these paintings, he has painted on top of individual cards, intricately arranged between each painting. Ofstad says, “I have grown quite fond of collaging onto my paintings. It allows me to intertwine artifacts from my youth and relate them to my present identity. They are integral parts of all my pieces. They place emphasis on the sentimentality of childhood, and they lengthen the longing for simpler times. Often, my artistic endeavors serve as chances to relive and revive from my past. In these pieces, I am coming to terms with the end of my youth.”
Jackson Orta is a senior photography BFA candidate from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He will be exhibiting a 3 1/2 minute video piece, four accompanying photographs and three portfolio books. Orta describes his project, “The work in this show is a personal narrative video piece called ‘Felt it in my skin, but not in my bones’ that centers around my personal experiences growing up as a queer and mixed individual and the conflicts associated with that and the journey of growing into myself as I am now. The other accompanying pieces are stills from the narrative video that work as a companion to pay homage to both my video and photographic backgrounds as well as portfolio books I’ve produced over my time at university. A lot of my work is inspired by colleagues and friends I’ve made in the Minneapolis photography community that I’ve been part of since my sophomore year of high school. I also draw influences from prominent editorial and contemporary photographers such as Nick Glover, Vuhlandes, Jessica Kobeissi and others of the like.”
Hannah Polzin is a senior ceramics BFA candidate from Plymouth, Minnesota. She will be exhibiting a collection of ceramic works that explore the intersection of art and function. Polzin writes, “Exploring the delicate balance between decorative art and functional objects, these works ultimately ask, would you use me? The fear of breaking a treasured possession often holds people back from using functional art. The added pressure of handmade art being unique — and usually expensive — dissuades regular use. Despite the potential fragility of the tea set and mugs, would they be used or looked at only?”
Emily Popp is a senior graphic design BFA candidate from Lodi. She will be exhibiting a multimedia display that integrates photography, design, paint, color and physical items. Popp says, “I am fascinated with the idea of collecting time and using it as a medium. My lived experiences are stapled down to locations, songs and snippets of paper. I hold on to these things, but why? In this multimedia piece, I strive to clean up the messy pieces of my personal growth and immortalize my memories in tidy categories.” After graduation she plans to move to Minneapolis to pursue a career in graphic design.