Cereal boxes, recliners and ceramic sculptures are three of the works to be featured at the master of fine arts and bachelor of fine arts thesis exhibits opening today at the Grunwald Gallery of Art.
An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
MFA student Catherine Chi is contributing her work, “Part of a Complete Breakfast,” which is an interactive video installation. It includes projectors, a distance sensor, a shopping cart and about 200 cereal boxes.
Chi said she finds cereal boxes to be some of the most interesting parts of a grocery store. The cereal boxes are designed to make people believe the cereal will bring them happiness, health and success. The boxes are meant to draw consumers into that fantasy, Chi said.
“Usually when we interact with the cereal box in the grocery aisle, just the image of a familiar character or even the color of a package is all it takes to trigger our memory of advertisements and the sweet taste of the food,” Chi said.
Her video installation explores the point in which people actually connect with the cereal on a deeper level.
It begins with the boxes being painted white, making them invisible to any recognition. To bring back the identity of the boxes, Chi adds in the color, then ingredients and nutritional information and finally the advertisement elements.
Another part of the exhibit is BFA student Samantha Sondgerath’s weaving work. Sondgerath said there is a basic structure of weaving she tries to stray away from in her work.
To accomplish this, she weaves in and out of the loom at random places and includes material that is not typical in traditional weaving.
Sondgerath bought a recliner and weaved the upholstery with wire, nails and glitter. She followed the same process to create a lamp, floor and wall pieces.
“I hope that people think of textiles and weaving in a different way,” Sondgerath said. “A lot of people think I make rugs and scarves when I weave, but that’s not what I aspire to do at all.”
MFA student Kelly Novak said she also hopes to allow for multiple interpretations of her work.
Novak is exhibiting 16 pieces of jewelry made from resin, silver, copper and other materials.
Novak’s exhibit is called “Fragments of Utopia,” and explores the concept of utopia through her own travel experiences, which she has incorporated into her jewelry.
Preparation began in Florence, Italy, this past summer, where Novak took a resin workshop, creating her first pieces and sharpening her skills.
The artists have been working on their pieces for at least a semester, culminating in the opening of their thesis show before graduation.
“Student support is integral to the arts,” Novak said. “Opening events are a great opportunity to interact with artists and a wide range of interesting and engaged people within the community.”