Twelve students in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program are gearing up for their final showcase at Thompson Rivers University. For the next three weeks, The Omega will feature graduating students. The BFA graduating students exhibition will open at 7 p.m. on April 21 and will run until May 5 in the Old Main art gallery.
Stephen Hsiao is an international student from Taiwan and one of 12 graduating students who will exhibit his work in the final showcase.
Hsiao’s piece for the show is titled “Cultural Walker.”
“These are images of silhouetted figures of people walking in different countries and in different cities, as well as having a reference to different cultures,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao’s fourth-year advisor, Donald Lawrence, strongly encouraged him to further research and develop his theories and artistic style.
“That got my interest in Russian constructivism and modernist artistic movements, which lead me into creating this body of work,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao says that this body of work incorporates multi-disciplinary art practices.
“I work with photo etching processes on copper plate to produce these curved plates. I’m also working with installation methods. I’m trying to go across from a two-dimensional work to a three-dimensional space,” Hsiao said.
The work starts with photography that he proceeds to edit in Photoshop. He then prints out the photo and transfers it onto the copper plate. His final step is to use sculptural elements and install the piece.
“This body of work is kind of a summary of all of the knowledge I’ve acquired throughout my university life, learning from photography, printmaking, sculpture and installation. So, all of these elements come together, and so it makes sense for me to have this as the representation of my graduating work,” Hsiao said.
Hsiao adds that he’s not really sure what life after grad looks like yet.
“As a citizen of Taiwan, I would have to serve in the military but I’m also trying to pursue a master’s education,” Hsiao said.
“My piece is called Phobia, and I am building a house, or the layout of a house. It’s going to be three rooms: there’s the studio, bedroom and dining room. In each room, I am incorporating exterior elements, so there is going to be a wind room, a water room and a fire room. In the fire room, it is going to be blended together with mud,” Bayona said.
Bayona says that she did a residency at the Kamloops Art Gallery (KAG) two years ago, and made a burnt room where she burnt everything in a room. She was looking for, at that time, places that the public wasn’t allowed in and then kept coming back to that idea.
“For my fourth year, I wanted to explore it a bit further and kind of see how it could bloom,” Bayona said.
This residency with KAG was partially the influence for her final project but it also came out of a desire to give each viewer a varied experience and sense of emotions.
“As an artist, I am very interested in disrupting the viewer’s reality. So, I want to create something that looks real on the outside, but then once they go inside it’s kind of an uncanny feeling and an uncanny experience,” Bayona said.
Bayona adds that she will be staying in Kamloops for a little bit, but hopes to move on to a career more focused on art.
“I am a support worker, and I’m really loving my job. At the same time, I am interested in interior design and I would love to design sets for movies,” Bayona said.
For her exhibition piece, Duggan’s work will incorporate various elements such as animation, paintings and small sculptures.
“I’m doing a stop-motion animation as the main component of my piece. It combines two-dimensional animation, so flat hand-drawn animation, but also 3D stop motion, so making these [small sculptures] move in small increments,” Duggan said.
This short-film style artwork is about emotions and physiological phenomena.
“It looks at a couple of particular characters and how they interact. One character, in particular, is supposed to represent being very restrictive with emotions and the other is supposed to represent being very free with emotions. And there is some conflict that happens as they interact,” Duggan said.
Duggan adds that in her artwork, she tends to bring an element of seriousness while using bright and colourful abstract techniques. The art she creates tends to be a reflection of her own mind.
“I’ve always been interested in more of the mindset and psychology behind art. I’m very interested in artists like Van Gogh, who’s known to have bipolar disorder,” Duggan said.
Duggan adds that in high school, she saw herself becoming a doctor, but that’s no longer the plan.
“I’m still moving towards art. I’ll probably want to combine a few of my other interests, I’ve always had an interest in fantasy literature, also in music. So maybe try and work more into those, but still keeping with art. I’m planning on moving to England for a bit,” Duggan said.
Nadine Arnott is a transfer student from Emily Carr and will be exhibiting a series of plush creatures at the show.
“Each of the creatures have their own individual names, I called them “halfrealin” creatures. It kind of a play on words, half real creatures. They’re based on emotion or psychological states or experiences,” Arnott said.
The creatures pull from not only raw emotion but people’s reactions to these emotions.
“Each one I come up with a physical embodiment of emotion or feeling and try to capture it, not in a completely on-the-nose sort of way, but in subtle ways that you don’t pick up on at first glance. Each one of these guys has a narrative that goes with them, a poem for each one that is going to be displayed in the final show,” Arnott said.
Arnott adds that the plush medium adds a unique sense of life to her work.
“There’s definitely a lot of thought that goes into the creation of them, and they come out quite bizarre. There’s obviously very weird foreign aspects, but it always pulls back to a human, realistic aspect,” Arnott said.
She uses monsters help explain things in a cohesive and easy to understand way while incorporating a sense of storytelling. Arnott adds that emotions such as sadness and realization have varying levels and can mean different things in different contexts.
“The theme I was going for was a monster-based, modern folklore,” Arnott said. “My strategy with certain emotions and certain phenomena. Rather than explain them as they are, explain them as a monster. It can put a buffer between it and make it a little easier.”
Arnott says she has been sewing for a long time using creative designs that already existed from video games and other pop culture iconography. She says it was a natural progression when she started creating and designing her own stuff, adding that sewing is just like a different type of sculpture.
“With sewing, you can change things on the fly and there is more room for customization,” Arnott said.
Arnott’s primary goal after grad is to go into game and app development while keeping up her addiction to sewing.
“If all else fails, I’ll go work on an Ostrich farm I guess,” Arnott said.