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2008 BFA Thesis Exhibition

May 29 - June 22, 2008

The 2008 BFA candidates:
Nathan Boyer, Rhonda Forsberg, Kathy Gredzens, Sarah La Du, Peter F. Qualliotine, Claire Strickland, Sharon Elaine Thompson, Rieko Warrens and Christy L. Weigel. The exhibition includes sculpture, photography, mixed media works, printmaking and painting.

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 over the winter and spring 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 the student's progress at each stage. 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 installation and installed in The Art Gym.

2008 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Candidates
Nathan Boyer is exhibiting books of photographs, paintings and collages on paper, and objects and detritus from daily life. Boyer's books examine everyday topics like traffic and simple physics. His collections of objects include a year of used toothbrushes, and glass jars containing sweepings from different rooms in his house. His stated goal is to "remove the mystery from the art-making process" and to show viewers that there is little difference between artists and themselves.

Rhonda Forsberg is interested in society's expectations of young women and "the discomfort and awkwardness of not fitting in." She has made color photographs of a young woman, focusing on her posture and elegant dresses, but leaving her face – and by implication her identity – outside of the picture. Forsberg is showing both single images and multiple photographs printed together to span a width of up to 15 feet.

Kathy Gredzens combines painting with three-dimensional elements to convey memories of her childhood and to reflect how memories are shaped and changed by personal recollections, family stories and fantasy. Gredzens uses many materials in large-scale, three-dimensional assemblages, including acrylic paint, conte crayon, wood, metal, paper, plastic, canvas, yarn and fabric.

Sarah La Du documents abandoned Oregon commercial and public buildings in a series of black and white and color photographs. Most of these run-down structures are in, or near, small towns, including Corbett, Oregon City and Grass Valley. La Du writes, "In our society, so many things are disposable and the old is quickly done away with for the new, shiny, prettier version. These structures have been left behind in this societal evolution. Down the road there is a more convenient Chevron, a cheaper grocery store, or a chain restaurant ..."

Peter F. Qualliotine's paintings bear witness to "structural and institutional violence and identities based on dominance." His large unstretched canvases use images, symbols and writing to address capital punishment, war, prostitution and childhood sexual abuse. He hopes these artworks will become agents for reflection and change and has regularly placed them temporarily in public locations in an effort to engage a broader audience.

Claire Strickland uses linocut prints to produce images that support the idea that "the destruction of our natural world is a destruction of ourselves." The artist's five-part Eco-Prayer Series combines an image of the human face with one of the five earth elements – fire, water, wind, earth and sky. Strickland has also created ten sets of five different prints of mudras in a series that resembles strings of Tibetan prayer flags. (Mudras are ritual hand gestures used in Tibetan Buddhism and other Eastern religions.) The artist writes that Tibetan prayer flags are thought to "promote balance within the natural world and bring peace to all sentient beings."

Sharon Elaine Thompson uses a series of unique artist books to explore the process of loss, grief and healing. The artist has chosen the material, form and size of each book to convey the emotions and reflections that accompany loss of a loved one. She writes that although she has no structured religious training, she has found meaning in the vocabulary of Christian, Buddhist and Shinto religious artifacts, including reliquaries, rosaries, altars and devotional books.

Rieko Warrens has taken inspiration from articles and pictures in The Oregonian for her paintings on mothers and babies – in this case pigs, birds and dogs and their offspring. She writes that she was drawn to the gap between the cute photographic images that accompanied stories that emphasized the "very coldhearted and brutal nature of survival ... " Warrens's acrylic paintings on canvas are influenced by her appreciation of the bold color and shapes used by early 20th century French painter Henri Matisse.

Christy L. Weigel mixes humor and reflection in a series of self-portraits that explore a changing sense of identity prompted by the birth of her daughter in 2007. In each oil painting on canvas, Weigel either turns her back to the viewer or obscures her face or entire head with a different object: trumpet, Groucho Marx glasses/nose/moustache, coffee cup or large paper bag. Weigel creates texture and adds to the content of each painting by writing across its surface using a single repeated letter, or her own stream of consciousness poetry.

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