Graduating fine arts students showcase their work

Allie Hendrickson and Maeghan Watkinson show off their art

As the winter semester comes to a close, the six graduating students of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program are putting the finishing touches on their final projects. After going through several critiques, their work will be exhibited on April 22 at 7 p.m. in TRU’s art gallery.

Allie Hendrickson holds her wood carved dodo bird, who, after being on display in Salmon Arm, will be in her final project show. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Allie Hendrickson holds her wood carved dodo bird, who, after being on display in Salmon Arm, will be in her final project show. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Allie Hendrickson

Hendrickson’s project has its roots in her Scandinavian ancestry, specifically Norse mythology and themes within.

“It’s a new exploration for me, but it has always been an interest,” Hendrickson said.

Her exhibit will include oil paintings of flumes (gravity-driven water channels) and wood carvings that were mostly done with a chainsaw.

“One of the most important things for me is texture and woodwork and oil painting really let you play with that,” Hendrickson said.

When Hendrickson started studying fine arts, she wouldn’t have thought that she would be exhibiting chainsaw carvings at her final show.

“A lot of people, when they’re coming into the program, initially think that you’re just going to do drawing, and that might be your primary interest, but you do find a lot of things like screen printing and etching, and you might find something you like better, and you might end up doing something completely different,” she said.

The most impressive piece in Hendrickson’s show will be a seven-foot-tall totem-pole-like carving of a raven. Ravens symbolize wisdom and knowledge, and in Norse mythology Odin has two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who bring him information about the goings-on of the world.

One of Hendrickson’s pieces, a wooden dodo bird, has already been displayed in Salmon Arm as part of an exhibit on stupidity. After graduation she hopes to continue exhibiting her work.

“I’ve been contacted for commission work with the wood carving but I think I’d like to do more painting in the future,” Hendrickson said.

Maeghan Watkinson holds up a painting of her family branding a bull on their ranch. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Maeghan Watkinson holds up a painting of her family branding a bull on their ranch. (Marlys Klossner/The Omega)

Maeghan Watkinson

Watkinson’s exhibit will be of several paintings showing the hard work that goes into the B.C. ranching lifestyle.

“I’m looking at aspects of the ranching industry that are not usually depicted and trying to stay away from stereotypical imagery. I’m trying to get away from the romantic aspects and stay away from the typical depictions of cowboys,” Watkinson said.

Watkinson’s family has a ranch, and her paintings are recreations of pictures of her family going about their business.

To demonstrate the divide between the image of country life and what it is actually like today, Watkinson painted an image of an ATV on an old saddle.

“I’m trying to change people’s perspective of the cowboy stereotype. They don’t just ride through the ranch in the rain, there’s a lot more work that goes into it. It’s a 24/7 job, it’s not something you can start at nine and leave at five,” Watkinson said.

Watkinson’s paintings are large snapshots of the effort that goes into maintaining a ranch, including all the technology and machines that don’t necessarily fit the pastoral fantasy. Also included are depictions of some of the not-so-pretty aspects, like the carcass of a cow that has been chewed on by a predator.

“I wasn’t going to be an artist, I was going to be a writer. In elementary school people made fun of me for how I did art. I always had a different perspective. I decided to prove them wrong and figure out how to paint and draw, and I had a really good art teacher in high school,” Watkinson said.

Watkinson hopes to become a teacher herself, and is waiting to hear back from UBC. Once she becomes a teacher she plans on doing art on the side, or, ideally, teaching it.