WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 17, 2017 — West Liberty University senior art students will showcase their best work during the spring Senior Exhibition, opening on Wednesday, April 19. The public reception will take place from 5:30 – 7 p.m. and is held in the Nutting Art Gallery. The art will remain on display until Thursday, May 11.
There are six talented artists in this year’s exhibition: Jenny Ball (Woodsfield, Ohio), Jessica Bethel (Mount Pleasant, Ohio), Alyssa Culp (East Liverpool, Ohio), Emily Jessee (Charleston, W.Va.) and Courtney Moore (Martins Ferry), all seniors from art education and graphic design. The senior exhibition offers a diverse look at artistic interpretation.
“There really is no theme for our senior exhibitions because each student develops their own personal capstone experience and develops their own theme. We see all the seniors’ work as a whole today, when we jury it from 4 – 6 p.m.,” explained Robert Villamagna, assistant professor of art and director of the Nutting Gallery.
“After the faculty meets to jury the artwork, we then meet with each student one-on-one, to talk about the work and discuss each student’s capstone project. If we find any problems, we address it but usually the work is pretty good since we meet with them three times during the semester as the work is being done.”
Installation of the juried work then follows tonight and tomorrow. Finally, Villamagna lights the artwork and prepares it for public showing in the Nutting Gallery and the all-important grading by art faculty.
“The senior exhibition is where our students demonstrate their skills, professionalism and creativity. It marks a real transition from student to professional. It’s also a very public display of what they have learned (or are working towards) which puts a lot of pressure on each participating student,” said Brian Fencl, professor of art and chairman of the department.
“Some students create work to be used in their professional portfolios and to find future employment and some use the exhibition to create art for the sake of creating art. Most students put between 125 to 150 hours worth of work into it,” Fencl said.
About 10 years ago, the Senior Exhibition developed into its current comprehensive format, which consists of capstone work, and digital portfolios. The digital portfolios are a complete record of all the art classes each senior completed and the resulting film is shown during the Senior Exhibition.
“It used to be students just entered all and any work, whatever. Now it’s a capstone project, with each senior picking a theme and an individual look, like a group of oil paintings of Wheeling or a series of labels for a particular product. Then each student has the digital portfolio on the movie screen,” Villamagna explained.
“This method offers a more well-rounded view of the students work and allows a complete record of their time here,” he noted.