DESIRE TO EXPLORE by KEEYONNA FOX

MARCH 26 – APRIL 5, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, April 5, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Desire to Explore is a series of digital collages that invite the viewer to examine daily busyness. By exploring regular routine, Fox asks if there is more to life than the schedules we create.

Statement

Through reflection and making these pieces, I began to see the routine of life that can put restrictions on new experiences. Exploration starts a journey one may take to an unfamiliar place or a familiar place they have been but didn’t explore and learn from those experiences. The range of ideas flows naturally based on past and present events. These events are created by cultural knowledge of what is going on in today’s society or what has happen in the past.  As I began preparing for this show, I came up with so many ideas that they could not all be expressed in one show. I didn’t know what I would do or how it was going to happen, but suddenly it hit me like a burst of water hitting my face as I got ready for the day. Everyone has a routine in the morning to start the day. This routine of work, school, social media, and entertainment are what I think of as busywork or distractions for today’s society; it is something we consume regularly. You may not know whom to blame, but it has been regularly becoming more ingrained for decades and will be an ongoing practice that frankly will be hard to break. As I look at my work, I notice my pieces reflect what is happening or what happened in my life whether it was with my own experience or listening and learning from others. This time around, I wanted to change; I wanted to look at what could be possible, to see what we as humanity could do without an institutionalizing society. I desire to explore more.

I have been drawing for as long I can remember. I would even draw my favorite cartoon characters with my little brother. Throughout my life, I have wondered. My wonders became daydreams and my daydreams became reflections. As I get older, these became my art pieces. DESIRE TO EXPLORE has been my favorite wondering. I wondered what life would be like if no one had to work or attend school; what would society look like? What kind of person will I be? Although I know I am hardworking and I do love school and work, I question if there is more? One day knowing I could leave and walk without a location in mind would be a dream come true. As I walk, I would begin an authentic journey learning about today’s society. I would not only learn something new about myself but also about the environment, the human condition, and how everything connects. I feel I would begin a journey connecting with the earth using my senses to explore the universe. I remember as a kid looking at the lines in the blinds. They appeared to be moving or lying on the ground, and, as I looked up into the sky, I began to feel as if I was floating. DESIRE TO EXPLORE is a series of digital collages that reflect my longing to capture my senses and walk into the universe using photography and drawings. However, DESIRE TO EXPLORE isn’t just for me. It questions the sense of reality and if there are multiple realities to explore.  A reality where people might find their true selves and connect to the universe.


BEYOND THE EYES by HANI MIRE

FEBRUARY 19 – MARCH 1, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, March 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Beyond The Eyes is a series of photographs documenting three uniquely different African-American women. Inspired by the strong women that surrounded her as she grew up and the cultural intersection of Somali-American, the artist explores the identities that we create and their perspectives on the world around them.

Bio

Hani Mire is a digital illustrator and photographer based in Minneapolis inspired her projects that focus on community. She is currently working on her Beyond the Eyes senior show. She is anticipating her BA in Studio Art from Augsburg University.

Statement

My inspiration comes from my own personal background,especially growing up around strong women and as well as being young a Somali-American who grew up at the intersection of two different cultural viewpoints. Growing up with polar opposite cultures, I’m always finding a way to balance these two different worlds. My identity is an important role that shaped me into who I am as a person today.

Throughout my work, I focus on documenting three uniquely African-American women. I go along on their journey, and I explore my subjects through the lens of a Somali-American woman with a series of portraits and smaller images of each person’s viewpoint. My first subject sees her surroundings, including possessions, to be the most important to her. She brings a glimmer of her artistic upbringing everywhere she calls home. She sees the world through a creative mindset which has always led her to be aware of the world. My second subject uses her makeup sets of foundations and brushes to bring joy into her life. She is motivated to find new ways to be creative but also keep her natural features intact. My third subject finds her faith to be the most important thing in her life. She balances a world of influence with always keeping in mind where she wants to head in life. These three individuals demonstrate not only identity but a statement of being.

I am motivated to continue capturing individuals with complex backgrounds within overlooked communities. I want to show the world not only what they are dealing with in cultures very different from their own but that they are mixing the best of both worlds to make an identity of their own. Each individual uses what they find important to shape their own reality to depict their own understanding of their identity. I’ve followed my three subjects on their journey of finding their own identity, and my goal for this project was to discover how our identity plays a role in our perspective of the world.


images from exhibit

 

CONNECTIONS by TY TOMCZAK

february 5 – 15, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Connections is a visual journey into a complex family of eight individuals. By using line work and mixed-media watercolor techniques, Tomczak invites the viewer to connect to the loving family dynamic through an adventure of self-analysis.

Bio

Ty Tomczak is a watercolor painter living in Minneapolis, Minnesota working to receive his BA in Studio Art at Augsburg University. He specializes in portraiture, sceneries, and linework to convey individuality through watercolor paintings.

Statement

My work utilizes the materials of watercolor and food coloring to demonstrate the importance of family bonds. This demonstrates that family is important and would like others to see its importance. I am representing my own family as paintings and cut silhouettes that encircle a mirror. The central mirror reaches out to the viewer by including them in my family and reminds them that who they are isn’t limited by their reflection. Silhouettes respond to humanity’s judgment on appearances and demonstrate that what’s on the outside isn’t what makes a person. I am appealing to what’s on the inside, underneath the surface, because I believe that everyone’s different.

My work aims to represent the whole of a family by breaking down its complexities into parts. This can be seen by my choice to have two sections in my exhibition: a simplified, individual side, and a grouped, less defined side. Its simplified side shows the beauty of how well family knows one another. Its complex side shows how the family works through life as a group. I would like others to understand that family is important to me through both sides of the spectrum and that it is positive to be a part of something.

For me, family has been an encouraging force driving me towards loving who I have become. Through this encouragement, I am drawn to study human identity. This study on human identity relates to my contemporaries by my close analysis to the differences in humans.


Images from exhibit

DENOUEMENT by DAVID BABOILA

February 5 – 15, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Denouement combines photography and installation to ask questions about the notions of home and our relationship to it. Baboila depicts change in the physical context of home, moving beyond the physical space into one of emotion as he as he explores and poses questions about our memories and experiences of home.

Bio

David Baboila is an artist based out of Saint Paul Minnesota. He primarily makes photographs exploring themes of transition and vacancy. His practice stems from his formal training at Augsburg University and artistic engagement within his community of artists.

Statement

Denouement refers to the point in a literary work where the chain of events come together and the end result of the plot is made clear. This body of work started as the result of my parents marriage ending and impending sale of my childhood home. As the floors were refinished, the furniture moved out, walls repainted, carpets reinstalled, and as sentimental objects were placed into storage, I began to examine my own relationship to the physicality of home as it relates to the memories of the past.

Static, void, and sometimes violent, my images explore the physical home and why it holds emotional significance. The longing for the comfort and familiarity of a home we had or always wanted can be found in the now exposed and deconstructed spaces these images depict. As I confront this experience through this installation, the images move from the context of an objective study to a subjective reflection on our personal memories as they relate to the home.

Denouement calls into question the relationship between the physical space of home and our own emotions, memories and experiences with it. Is our memory or history defined through our experience our objects and spaces? What is the nature of our connection between memory and emotions and these physical elements of home?


Images from Exhibit

CULTURAL IDENTITY by TOU XIONG

JANUARY 22 – FEBRUARY 1, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Cultural Roots is a series of digital portraits that explore the ways in which culture affects our upbringing and our everyday life.

Bio

Tou Xiong creates digital portraiture through the layering of photography, exposure of images, making photomontages and collaging photos. Xiong explores art through the lens of a first generation Hmong American, exploring both the Hmong culture and the American culture. Prominent themes of his works include self-identity through cultural exploration. Xiong is a Graphic Designer who will receive his BA at Augsburg University in 2018. He currently lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Statement

Cultural Identity is a series of digital portraits that explores the ways in which culture affects our upbringing and everyday life. Culture is everywhere, whether it is the language we use in our everyday life, the way we dress, the way we think and act, our religious belief, and many more. As a Hmong American, I represented a part of the Hmong culture along with six other individuals.

Adobe Photoshop is the tool used to manipulate these portraits. They consist of blending effects, photomontages, and collages. This method is used to express the characteristics of these people, showcasing different aspects of the Hmong culture. The connection digital art have with culture is a change of generation from traditional art to digital. How I relate this generation gap to the Hmong culture is the idea Hmong Americans have both agreements and disagreements with the current customs and traditions. Growing up as a Hmong American, there are morals and values we learned from the culture of American society which conflicts with some of the Hmong customs and traditions and vice versa.

My artwork is inspired by Marumiyan, a Japanese graphic artist, and Minjae Lee, a Korean artist. These artists work with portraits and incorporates nature into their portraits. Their style really intrigues me as I would recreate it with my current artstyle. All of these ties back to culture as culture is always changing. The influence of another person’s work changes one’s own work. I have experienced several forms of art which includes drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, and digital art. My style of artwork has changed throughout the years working with art, from traditional drawing to digital art. Change is necessary for one to learn and grow from throughout their journey of finding oneself.

Throughout my experience here at Augsburg University, I have discovered more about my own self-identity. I have grown interest in learning more about my own cultural background and why it is important to learn about one’s own culture. As people look around the gallery, I want people to think about their own cultural identity when they see my work.


Images from Exhibit

BUILDING BLOCKS by GLEN GARDNER

JANUARY 22 – February 1, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Feb. 1, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Using stacked stone structures, Gardner’s work strives to show a connection that exists between the human world and the natural world while incorporating his submersion into adulthood.

Bio

Glen Gardner is a multi-media artist who is currently finishing up his last year in Augsburg Studio Art Program. He has taken up a focus on how humans interact with the environment, while expressing this with 3D media. His art focuses on bringing the audience to have an emotional connection to the natural and human world.

Statement

Growing up, I did a lot of hiking. A common character on these hikes were cairns, human-made structures of short, deliberately stacked rocks, and I was fascinated with them. Since then, I have come to believe that they are much more than just piles of rocks. On a functional level, these cairns of my early life served the purpose of marking a pathway where a trail didn’t exist. The instructions were simple: play a game of connect-the-dots with the stone piles. But they did something more. They showed me that I could be an architect in a human world. The simplicity of the forms, along with the abundance of material, encouraged these natural sculptures. I also began to realize that, because these stones had been exposed to the natural world, the materials gained a very intricate but consistent aesthetic. The processes of erosion effectively put thousands of years of work into these rocks, and the fact that similar rocks will be in the same place creates the ingredients for an interesting sculpture. By combining these natural processes with a human architect, and then performing this in a location that has been developed by nature for years and years and years, a cairn becomes a piece of art. Upon moving to Minneapolis, I noticed that the cairns I was seeing were taking a much different form. Before, they were used to mark a path, but in the Twin Cities this was much less needed. Instead, cairns here seem to mark a space for people, showing that a destination had been reached. They also spoke to the human compulsion to create and build. There have been several times at Hidden Beach when people just stacked rocks for whatever reason.

For my art, I wanted to recreate a feeling of entering a natural space in an unnatural setting while evoking childlike wonder among the participants. As I began this journey, I started to realize that these forms need to allow the natural world in. Unfortunately, I was lacking the time to erode materials for years and years, so I decided to leave a lot of forms up to chance. This meant that I would try to manipulate the form’s aspects as minimally as possible and allow the material to speak for itself. I began to see each stone that I made as a building block used to create a larger form. The results were these large and heavy spinal forms that could not be self-supported. The results were not jovial; they speak to me as a visual representation of me drifting away from the child inside, but still keeping those experiences in my heart.


Images from Exhibit

THE ART OF RECOVERY by ANNA HOOVER

 

JANUARY 8 – JANUARY 18, 2018

Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

Artist Talk: Thursday, Jan. 18, 6 – 8 p.m. Christensen Center Student Art Gallery

The Art of Recovery explores the artist’s personal struggle and journey with an eating disorder. This collection of paintings contains stories that represent the process of what it is like to recover from a mental illness. It examines the cultural weight of food and how it relates to body image and mental health.

Bio

Anna Hoover is an acrylic painter residing in Northeast Minneapolis, MN. She received her AFA at Minneapolis Community College in 2013 and is currently attending Augsburg University to complete her BA in studio arts by spring 2018. Anna paints large-scale acrylic paintings, with explosive neon colors. Her artwork explores many different themes including; mental health, horror, and pop culture. She has participated in many art fairs around the twin cities including the Minneapolis Uptown Art Fair. Anna hopes to one day get her masters and become a licensed art therapist.

Statement

The Art of Recovery is a series of paintings that represent my recent struggle with an eating disorder. These paintings are not only an exploration of mental illness, but are stories about the subliminal messages we receive every day about food, body image, and conventional beauty.

Each painting in this series illustrates a different stage of my eating disorder and recovery. The first time somebody told me I was fat, I was 8 years old. When I was 13, a boy wrote “Ms. Piggy” on my locker at school.  I was embarrassed, distraught, and ashamed of my body. I had learned that fat was the worst thing you could possibly be. I felt I needed to change my appearance in order to be accepted by society.

Painting portraits of food and curvy woman is my rejection of the notion that thinness is equivalent to beauty and success. My goal is to express the repercussions of fat shaming and how harmful it is on someone’s mental health. Within our society there is not only pressure to be thin and beautiful, but there is an obsession with food. Images of gorgeous woman eating fast food, “guilt free” advertisements, and the promotion of dieting all create a narrative about what we eat and who we are when we eat it. Stigma surrounds fatness and the terms healthy food or unhealthy food. This creates a subconscious relationship with food and weight. We praise thinness as a symbol of health and beauty and reject fatness as a symbol of lack of health and failure. I painted different images of woman, all of them decaying, posing beautifully, or being weighed down. These images are my visual representation of the negative impact of my social constructed relationship with food has had on my mental health. The story begins with Ms. Piggy and evolves into struggles with food, body image, intrusive thought, and anxiety.

I hope that I can turn the gallery into a space where conversations about the experiences of eating disorders are welcome. The purpose of my show is not to claim that all stories are the same, but to illustrate one experience out of many. It is important to note that eating disorders do not discriminate race, ethnicity, gender or weight. This is simply an illustration of my own story.

I want to take down the shame of eating disorders and stigma around food and weight. In creating this series, I hope that many people can find content they can relate to. I placed the painting of a warrior woman at the beginning of the series to show that recovery is a never-ending journey. Many people recovering from mental illnesses often carry the weight of that illness for most of their life. It shows not that recovery is impossible, but is a journey and requires an extraordinary amount of strength to persevere.