Sometimes, attending consecutive art receptions can get slightly repetitive. But “At This Rate” (Armstrong University’s third Senior Showcase) brought fresh and captivating art that truly stood on its own. The reception was held April 4 at Ashmore Gallery with, as always, a sizable crowd.
The exhibition featured work by Adam Uhlig, Jud Wichers, Sarah Sexton, Morgan Zilm, and George Papadopoulos, and was the third of four capstone projects for Armstrong’s graduating seniors. Unlike other receptions, this one featured a keyboardist at the front of the gallery to provide a chill mood.
At This Rate had two pieces that competed for audience attention – Uhlig’s “Unleashed” and Wichers’ “Mobaar the World Eater.”
The first piece, placed strategically at the gallery entrance, was a larger-than-life ceramic sculpture of Uhlig’s head as it screamed and broke through glass. The sculpture, based on two Bible verses that fit the theme, was accompanied by several sketches and a painting that compared the sculpture to a roaring lion. Uhlig also brought along sketches and watercolors, and while they were impressively done, the crowd’s attention lingered on the massive sculpture.
Wichers’ “Mobaar the World Eater,” is a sequential art piece inspired by dream imagery of David Bowie’s and C.S. Lewis’ creations. The work told the story of an astronaut stuck in space with Mobaar the pink monster. The piece had seven panes and included segments of the story above each pane. While others guessed at the piece’s symbolism, from God’s seven-day creation of the world to Norse mythology, Wichers revealed that the true theme of the piece was loneliness in space.
While these pieces were standouts, the rest of the pieces exhibited were up to par. Sexton presented a sculpture of a giraffe along with other pottery pieces, noting that she draws inspiration from nature. Her collection of plates was especially well-done. Papadopoulos had several digital art pieces with pops of color accentuating black figure drawings. Inspired by a trip to South Africa, Zilm showed watercolor and acrylic portraits of each of the memorable faces she met there as a means of paying homage to them.
Overall, the exhibition showed a strong range of artistic talent that could easily rival any established artist’s show. The art was a bit thematically scattered for some artists; while all of Wichers’ pieces were impressively done, it was hard to find a thematic link between “Mobaar” and his watercolor paintings. Perhaps that feeling only came about because the “Mobaar” piece was such a standout. However, Sexton did a particularly great job of ensuring a steady theme in her work, as did Zilm. Additionally, Papadopoulos’ prints could have been greatly improved by incorporating mixed media elements to heighten the contrast.
Petty changes aside, “At This Rate” is a fantastic collection of Armstrong student work and shouldn’t be missed. The work will remain at the gallery until April 11. The fourth and final reception, “Chronic Hyperreality,” will be April 18.