Wednesday, April 3, 2013

BFA Thesis and Photography News Release

Contact: Mississippi State University Department of Art
662 325 2970

What started out as a simple series of drawings grew into a much more personal battle for MSU art student Destiney Powell when she found out that her son has a hole in his heart and will require surgery, just three days before her senior art show opens on April 9. Life is built up of a series of experiences in which we have the chance to grow based on the decisions we make. Just ask Destiney, a senior Art/Drawing major from Batesville, MS, about her own life experiences and she will show you her scroll like works of art that are as large as figures, complete with vibrant, organic forms alive with movement and color. She has illustrated the creation of life, from conception through the birth process. Powell chose to use this journey as a metaphor for her growth as an artist in order to “express the moods and emotions that [she] felt throughout [her] own pregnancy.” An optimistic and hopeful young woman, Powell says, “Maybe this life lesson is happening for a reason. My thesis is now about experiencing life with your creations. It’s now about my son and the experiences and challenges that he will face. Perhaps art is life after all.”

April Thesis Show Features Works by Sixteen MSU Students

Powell and 15 fellow senior art students will exhibit their Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Fine Art and Photography Thesis Exhibition during the month of April in three galleries across the MSU campus: the Department of Art Gallery in McComas Hall, the Colvard Student Union Gallery, and in MSU’s Visual Arts Center at 808 University Drive. A public reception filled with faculty, students, friends, family, and food will be held on April 11th in all three galleries beginning at 5:30pm in McComas Hall, proceeding to the Union Gallery at 6:30, then arriving at the Visual Arts Center at 7:15pm and ending at 8:00pm. It is also open to the public, so all are encouraged to attend. Student introductions will take place in McComas at 6:00 PM.

The exhibition, which will be on display from April 9 through April 13 in McComas Hall and the Visual Arts Center Gallery (and through April in the MSU Colvard Student Union Gallery on the 2nd floor), represents the culmination of a year of research and thesis studies, as well as four years of university foundations, survey, art history, academic and emphasis classes. The capstone experience consists of the development of a significant body of work, as well as critical studies, writing, and exposition that lead to a group exhibition, archive and portfolio in the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Each student is mentored by a faculty thesis committee and develops the exhibition processes as part of a team of students. The BFA Graphic Design senior show will follow this exhibition.

Mississippi State University’s Art program, a part of the College of Architecture, Art, and Design, is the largest undergraduate studio program in the state of Mississippi and offers views of its senior student work each semester.

Student Artists Represent Diverse Art Disciplines

Sixteen MSU senior students represent Fine Art Concentration emphasis areas of Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, and Drawing, as well as the Photography Concentration.

Art/Photography major Riley Reed of Athens, AL explored the sociological and psychological theory that says our perception of ourselves is really based on how we think others perceive us. Reed observed this theory through her camera lens as she has photographed people interacting inside their homes, but she will not be inside with them. She stands outside and takes the photographs through a window, with the permission of the subject(s), of course. Reed says that this “allows her and her audience to become involved in the lives of others but distanced in a way that gives an extended look into the lives of others outside the critical eye of the world/community.”

Jon Nowell, an Art/Sculpture major from Ridgeland, MS, strives to celebrate his artistic freedom. He says that these “artistic objects and instances manifest naturally and ostentatiously to illuminate the things [he has] learned, observed, desired, and failed to comprehend fully.”

Dorothy Printz, an Art/Painting major from Brandon, MS, seeks to communicate past, present, and future emotions through her mixed media, sculptural spheres that include letters from her grandmothers and dyed fabric.

Art/Painting major Kacey Woolery of Morton, MS, depicts the struggle of dealing with past relationships through his charcoal and paint representations of “The Red String of Fate.”

Art/Photography major Alexis Harrington of Starkville, MS studied Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs,’ a psychological theory, as she photographed the experiences her subjects go through when a specific need is taken away.

Loren Bartnicke, an Art/Painting major from Little Rock, AR, created busy, visually intriguing, thought provoking images of people. Her paintings are not about the subject but about the physical existence of the paintings.

Ashlei Michelle of Ocean Springs, MS is an Art/Drawing major; however, she succeeds in creating three-dimensional objects that complement her drawings. The series of objects appear to be clothing made of latex that obviously constricts the motion of the wearer. The purpose of these wearable objects is to convey the social implications of physical disability.

Starkville native and Art/Painting major Mary Switzer says that there is “a cognitive spontaneity” in the way she has painted her atmospheric, soft, neutral acrylic paintings.

Kellie Brady, an Art/Photography major from Brookhaven, MS, uses a monoprinting process to create nonrepresentational images of conflict and tranquility that stem from her own life experiences.

Mary Katherine Blackwell, an Art/Drawing major from Macon, MS, has illustrated a murder ballad called “The Mountain” written by her brother and local blues musician, Drew Blackwell. To create a sense of unease, Blackwell chose to splash red ink on the otherwise neutral color palette.

Art/Photography major Nathan McRee of Grenada, MS captures his curiosity of nighttime and dim light in a series of landscape photographs taken across the countryside of Webster and Grenada counties.

Morgan Welch, an Art/Sculpture major from Jackson, MS, has built a workbench to be presented not only as a tool but also as a historical study and an effective design object. He has strategically planned out this highly practical workbench so that it functions in the best interest of the user.

Hannah Williams, an Art/Photography major from Amory, MS, has photographed the interior of her home in order to create a dialogue of the transitional tension that takes place when domestic change occurs.

Art/Photography major Whitten Sabbatini of Clinton, MS explores people, places, and incidents through the medium of digital photography.

April Shelby of Florence, MS is an Art/Ceramics major who combines hand-built and wheel-thrown clay techniques. She has constructed multiple ceramic objects that can be arranged differently each time they are displayed so that the perception of the work of art is never the same.

The Spring 2013 BFA Fine Art and Photography Senior Show is sponsored by the MSU Department of Art and the College of Architecture, Art, and Design. For more information, contact the Mississippi State University Department of Art at 662 325 2070, or email

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