Second Year Graduate Student Art Exhibit Reflects Journey Together

There’s no denying the eclectic personality of Athens; from the University to the diversity of landscape and the ingenious students there’s always a new aspect to discover. Second year graduate students drew from this inspiration for their current exhibit, “Merges and Dissolves.” This annual group exhibit features work of second year graduate students and is located at the Ohio University Art Gallery, 536 Seigfred Hall and will run until Thursday November 1st.

Work from the departments of ceramics, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture is on display for the students’ second exhibition as a group. Graduate students have the opportunity to partake in the group exhibit in their first and second years in preparation for their solo thesis exhibition in their third year. “Merges and Dissolves” refers to a point in time, a moment at the crux of what came before and the unknown future. This is relatable in the sense that the students are coming together one last time before they embark onto their own solo paths.

“My colleagues are one of the best informed, intense, and critical audiences my work is likely to ever encounter and at the same time they are incredible resources,” said Joey Behrens, an exhibiting artist from the School of Art. “We were responsible for putting together all aspects of the show-from selecting a title to installing (and eventually uninstalling) the work. We quite literally had to work together to utilize each other’s skills to get it all done in the most effective way possible.”

Apart from the motivation the students received from their fellow colleagues, Athens has also played a vital part in helping the artists’ develop. For School of Art student and exhibitor Kathleen Elyse, the Ridges Asylum played a special part of her experience to date at Ohio University. When first entering grad school, Elyse’s work interpreted the many aspects of her mother’s medical and emotion journey through her nine months in which she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away from. Having access to research detailing procedures within the asylum provided an open door for Elyse to explore the medical world from a different viewpoint.

“The access to the Ridges and the ability to work with the location on an intimate level really expanded my work from an extremely personal body of work to a more accessible body of work for the viewers,” said Elyse.

Her piece currently on exhibit, “Dermis,” conveys this interest as themes such as Basil’s portrayal of life and death and the unknown grave tie into her piece with the unknown microbes within the body that can threaten healthy living.

Friday October 19th a discussion panel was held to dive deeper into the history of each piece on exhibit. The artists held an informal discussion of their ideas, research and processes used for each piece.

“The panel was an opportunity for us to have a conversation with viewers. Students and community members got to hear a bit more from the artists about what their intentions, influences, and motivations were in the process of making the pieces as well as make an comments or ask any questions they might have, be they about the artist’s methods, materials, or motivations,” said Behrens.

“Merges and Dissolves” is one of the most distinctive exhibits currently running and showcases what’s to come of these artists’ in their third year in the School of Art.

“I see the art work as a teaser to seeing what is the motivation or the thought process that these artists going through on a day to day basis with heavy research and their journey of processing that information and manifesting it into a physical piece of artwork,” said Elyse.

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-Ashleigh Mavros, Events Publicity Assistant


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