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2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at Marylhurst University

For Release: May 8, 2012

Marylhurst University opens the 2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition with a preview reception in The Art Gym from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 30. The 2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition presents work by seven BFA candidates: Kelly Casad, Michael Dambach, Harper Jade, Kimberly Kelly, Joanne Radmilovich Kollman, April Levy and Sarah Pruett. The exhibition includes sculpture by Dambach and Levy and paintings by Casad, Jade, Kelly, Kollman and Pruett.

The thesis candidates will give a gallery talk at noon, Wednesday, June 6. The exhibition continues through June 17.

The Art Gym is located on the third floor of the B.P. John Administration Building on the Marylhurst University campus, 10 miles south of Portland, Oregon on Highway 43. The Art Gym is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

The Marylhurst University BFA Program

The goal of the Marylhurst University art thesis program is to assist the senior-level student in the development of a coherent body of professional level work. The thesis project has two components, studio work and a thesis report. The written proposal is developed in the fall and evolves during the next two terms into a paper that discusses studio work progress from conception to completion.

A thesis committee, made up of three art department faculty members, critiques each student's progress through all stages. The studio work progresses through fall and winter terms and is completed in the spring. At that time the work is subject to final review, photographed, prepared for exhibition and installed in The Art Gym.

2012 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Candidates

Kelly Casad's paintings of working class people take particular inspiration from the work of documentary photographers Lewis Hine (American, 1874– 1940) and August Sander (German, 1876–1964). She bases her paintings on particular photographs and because many of the subjects have passed away, finds that painting "these wonderful faces serve as a memento mori; a reminder of the brevity of life."

Michael Dambach has made a series of biomorphic abstract sculptures of the abdomen, partially in response to Friedrich Nietzsche's statement, "The abdomen is the reason why man does not easily take himself for a god." (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886). Working with paper mache and paint, Dambach offers a grotesque but humorous commentary on what he calls "the unreasonable or foolish side of being human."

Harper Jade paints with acrylic on wood panels to create her large-scale fifteen- to twenty-foot-wide paintings. Titled Interstices, each work in the series is made up of four to five panels separated by small interstices or gaps. Although predominantly abstract, references to landscape, light and space are present in the works.

Kimberly Kelly juxtaposes planes of color and intersecting spaces and is inspired by the work of American painters Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993) and Edward Hopper (1882–1967). Photographs she took on a trip to Rome in 2010, provided source material for many of her paintings on birch panels. For the artist, these abstract works also reference family and memory.

Joanne Radmilovich Kollman uses photography to document her subjects, who are young and old, friends, strangers and acquaintances. She then uses those photographs as starting points for her oil on canvas paintings. She attempts to capture a sense of reverie and what she calls "in-between moments" that are spontaneous and fresh and convey the "dignity and wisdom of ordinary people."

April Levy's topographical sculptural landscapes are populated with miniature figurines scaling cliffs of upholstery and egg crate foam, rocks wrapped in hot pink elastic bandages and proliferating googly eyes. The artist sees her sculptures as physical manifestations of psychological space—spaces and places that are childlike, sometimes terrifying and in Levy's hands darkly humorous. Levy writes that she is influenced by the work of filmmakers David Lynch and Tim Burton, writers Roald Dahl, the Brothers Grimm and Samuel Becket and comedians Andy Kaufman, Amy Sedaris and Peter Sellars, all of whom occupy "the space between comedy and tragedy."

Sarah Pruett has created a series of paintings for her thesis that examine Biblical stories like the Good Shepherd, Lot's Wife and Daniel in the Lion's Den. In paintings like Shepherd, Pillar of Peggy and Pete in the Shih-Tzu Den, Pruett seeks to escape the black and white interpretations taught to her as a child. Pruett substitutes memorable people from her teenage and young adult years for the Biblical figures and places them in kitschy domestic scenes full of humorous detail. She writes that she is seeking to challenge "the meaning assigned to the imagery of these familiar Bible stories" and replace it with more nuanced interpretations.

About The Art Gym

The Art Gym is a program of the Marylhurst University Department of Art & Interior Design. The Art Gym programs are supported in part by the Regional Arts and Culture, Clackamas County Cultural Coalition, Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Art Gym is on the third floor of the B.P. John Administration Building at Marylhurst University, which is located one mile south of Lake Oswego on Highway 43.

Founded in 1980 by Marylhurst University, The Art Gym's mission from its inception has been to increase public understanding of contemporary art in the region. Over the last three decades, The Art Gym has organized hundreds of exhibitions, published more than 60 exhibition catalogues (which are available online) and hosted numerous public conversations with artists in the gallery. The Art Gym's goals have been to: consider the ideas with which artists are engaged; act as a catalyst for new work; and periodically take an in-depth look at a single artist's work at midcareer. The Art Gym was a recipient of the 2004-2005 Governor's Arts Award.

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