Seniors showcase their art


Contributed photo

This piece is one Erin Glass’ self-portraits for her Senior Art Thesis.

Megan Lay, Staff writer

The Cummings Art Gallery will soon be displaying the works of the Senior Art Thesis.
This is a cumulative project that students have worked on for two semesters, resulting in the final exposition.
The seven students presenting work are: Alysson Dillner, Erin Glass, Amanda Gunkle, Mark Kirschner, Paul Emery Mizia, Ashley Podrasky and Leah Weingartner.
Jodi Staniunas Hopper, chair of the Art department, worked with four students on their pieces.
She said the requirements for the students were part of a class in the fall of 2017.
“They had to first create a statement regarding what they were interested in investigating visually,” she said. “Then they start creating resources and practicing in the media they have selected.”
Over the course of eight weeks, students perfected and honed their artistic works.
They then focused on display and output, then framing. By the end of the term, they have completed their body of work.
An individual’s Senior Thesis can showcase skills, explore a certain medium of art and make an impression as new members of the art community.
Gunkle will be presenting a collection of creatures created in 3D printing programs, a medium she has been working in for a little over two years.
“The significance of my work is to demonstrate that 3D printing can be more than just a tool for making parts,” she said. “This relatively new art form can be used to make all sorts of beautiful artistic works.”
Dillner, whose work in ceramics will be displayed in the exhibition, chose to interpret ancient ceramic practices.
“I was introduced to this concept, called inlaying, through a book titled ‘A Single Shard,’” she said. “This book shows the impact new techniques in art have in personal lives and culture as a whole.”
Dillner hopes that viewers gain a connectedness to art from centuries before and their inspiration to new works presented in the exhibit.
“The labor of love is seen in each senior’s work of this exhibition, and behind them, countless nights in the studio and endless support from our professor mentors,” Dillner said.
Kirschner’s work focuses on photo manipulation, computer illustration and branding.
“The works that I am hanging in the show are three images from a series that I have spent the last year or so developing named ‘unknown faces,’” he said. “I chose to create a relatable surrealistic atmosphere where people could view the image and relate it to things that they view almost every day.”
Glass will be presenting seven photographs with manipulation and double exposure techniques that combine images of nature and self-portraits.
“My work explores the complex relationship between nature and human emotion,” she said.
Glass believes that, just like the environment, people constantly evolve.
She demonstrates this through photography, transforming the concrete by altering “its natural beauty.”
“Through color manipulation, distinguishing characteristics are amplified to symbolize how our environment and own persona are invariably changing in the eye of the beholder,” she said.
She is inspired by the photographer Sally Mann. “A lot of her photographs made viewers feel uneasy,” Glass said, “and that’s what I like about her.”
Over the years, Mann’s work has inspired Glass to push her limits when it comes to portraiture.
“Her work has a sense of vulnerability that I think is present in my photographs — especially because they are self-portraits,” said Glass. “I’ve never really worked on one single project for as long as this one, so it was fun getting lost within my work and overcoming the obstacles and doubts that come with any project.”
The Senior Art Thesis is a testament to the dedication of the students and faculty within the Mercyhurst Art department.
The exhibit will be on display in the Cummings Art Gallery from March 26 until May 13.
Cummings Art Gallery hours are Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.
The gallery will be closed for Easter Break between March 28 to April 2.
There is a reception April 14 from 3 to 5 p.m.