The Association of Graduate Art Students opened the doors to the Bingham Commons art studios to welcome the public to the studio for viewing and discussion Nov. 8.
Undergraduate and graduate art students showcased their work in individual cubicle-like studios while attendees strolled from one studio to the next with refreshments in hand. AGAS President Madeleine LeMieux organized the event to allow students to gain experience discussing their work to the public.
“It gives us an opportunity to put on our best face, clean our studios out, put our stuff out that we want to show and present ourselves in a certain way,” LeMieux said. “It’s practice for what will be happening, hypothetically, after we graduate.”
The studio compositions ranged from ceramic bowls and mugs to paintings conveying misinformation through obstructed QR codes. LeMieux presented her recent work which addressed themes of motherhood.
One of LeMieux’s pieces used a painting's brushstroke as inspiration for an organic shape. She then replicated this shape in a soft sculpture, in print and photographed the sculpture.
“You can see how that applies to the mother-daughter relationship and how maybe identities are constructed or relationships are intertwined,” LeMieux said. “I was trying to get at that without representing my kids.”
LeMieux expresses motherhood in a way that contrasts its nurturing and caring connotation. “There’s just a lot of misunderstandings,” LeMieux said. “I do hope eventually that I get to the point where I don’t necessarily change the world but that the things that I make can connect with other mothers and build some empathy.”
Sophomore photography student Kylee Isom displayed her photos concerning the gender divide in children’s toys.
Her idea sprouted from a dollar store run where she witnessed a father redirect his son toward army figurines after the boy asked his father if he could buy a unicorn.
“I started to think about how those very instances are about how we shape our gender and how the gender divide only gets greater because we are so impressionable,” Isom said.
Isom purchased gendered items and had her models perform with them. She edited her final photo selections by turning the shadows to pink, making the divide in her art just as stark as it was in the dollar store, an aisle separated by pink and blue.
“I wanted this to be very prominently pink and very gendered in the way it was edited as well as the way it was constructed so that when people consume it, they can get a very clear reading of what it’s about,” Isom said.
Gender’s role in society is a new concept Isom has been exploring through her photography. She wants to continue her project with a wider age range in her models.
“If at the end of the day, my art makes someone think twice about how things operate or how their actions or beliefs impart a really significant piece on society, then I feel like I’ve done a good job as an artist to at least bring a voice to an issue,” Isom said. “I’m just trying to bring light to an issue that’s still very prevalent, and at the end of the day, if that’s what happens, then I’m satisfied.”
Edited by Ben Scott | firstname.lastname@example.org