Senior art majors at University of the Cumberlands will be exhibiting artwork in the gallery on campus from April 15-26 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. All art-lovers are invited to come peruse the gallery.
Artists featured include Austin Nantz (Keavy, KY), an aspiring tattoo artist; his wife, Nichole (Sharp) Nantz, a young photojournalist; Shelby Householder (Henderson, KY), who studies psychology and has a heart for children; jazz music enthusiast Caleb Adams (Jeremiah, KY) and Olla Drane (Simpsonville, KY), who lived in a Ukrainian orphanage before being adopted by an American family.
“This year's seniors have done an outstanding job with their shows, and it's been interesting to see how all of their work has developed over the past four years,” said Russell Weedman, Chair of the Department of Art. “The Department is very proud of this group of young artists and what they have accomplished during their time here at Cumberlands.”
From April 15-19, artwork by Drane and Adams will be on display. They are hosting a reception at the gallery on April 17 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. Artwork by the Nantzes and Householder will be displayed from April 22-26, with a reception April 22 from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Olla Drane’s favorite pieces are photographs depicting the raw struggles of anxiety and depression, both of which Drane fights. One piece, entitled “Broken,” reveals a model curled into a ball with her face turned away from the camera. Fire has burned the photo’s borders and poked holes through the image, and scratch marks have stripped away bits of color.
“I wanted to include my own emotion in my art,” Drane said. “This show was my first time doing that. It was actually really fun! I feel a sense of relief. I feel more inspired.”
Four of Caleb Adams’ pieces in particular boast whimsy, boldness and a certain musical quality. Those painting make up a four-part series using a technique called “automatism” in which the artist makes lines and forms semi-automatically, not putting too much thought behind the process. The title of Adams’ series: Mind Fuzz.
“The name is drawn from improvisation in music,” Adams explained. “I have always been fascinated with improvisation performances, particularly in jazz. There’s a lot of emotion behind the art; there’s a music and a rhythm. A big part of this process, for me, is trying to create something new. I want to make something I don’t recognize.”
Nichole (Sharp) Nantz studies both art and journalism, so she focuses on telling narratives in her pieces. In a photo collage she made, Nichole’s model was a close friend of hers. In the pictures, the model uses different body postures to reveal her internal struggles – the process of trying to love herself, trying to find love in other people, hiding herself and finally accepting herself. The color tones gradually get lighter and warmer, correlating with the emotional shift in the pieces.
“I want to visually express a message that sometimes words can’t,” said Nichole. “Some people want their art to create a discussion. I want people to just stop. Take it in. Don’t start talking about it immediately, just stop and take a minute.”
Austin Nantz is on the way to becoming a tattoo artist, even taking a year off school to complete an apprenticeship before returning to Cumberlands to strengthen his art skills. His main pieces in this show are oil paints on canvas, in which he practiced lines, colors and different tattoo styles.
“People don’t know the amount of work that goes into tattoo art,” Austin said. “It takes a lot of time and preparation. Even after two weeks of work, a client can come in and hate your design, and you have to re-do the entire thing. A lot of dedication goes into doing it properly.”
Shelby Householder’s show is called Perceptions. Her goal is not so much for viewers to understand her reasoning behind her artwork; rather, she enjoys hearing other people explain what they think the meaning is. She did, however, discuss her piece “Sit Still and Pay Attention” – an open book with shards of glass, puzzle pieces and other media jutting out of its pages, all spray-painted tints of black.
“This is toward children with Attention Deficit Disorder,” Householder explained. “There might be other, sometimes traumatic, things going on at home too. There is so much more going on than just the words on a page. And I think the more you tell a child ‘Sit still and pay attention,’ the harsher those words get. I have ADD, and I was constantly told those things. You get told that enough, and this,” she gestured to the book, “becomes the reality.”
All artwork will be displayed in the art gallery inside the Luecker Building on Cumberlands’ campus. Drane’s and Adams’ artwork will be on display April 15-19, while Householder’s, Nichole’s and Austin’s work will be up April 22-26. All are invited to come meet the artists and enjoy the gallery.