Alva Review-Courier -

Northwestern Visual Arts Advanced Studio Class to show culmination of their work


Alanna Negelein, Capri Gahr, Ashley Fischer and Brieanna McClure will display their artwork in the Greenhouse Gallery May 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of the requirements for their advanced studio class.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University's Department of Fine Arts will present the visual arts program's advanced studio exhibition "Chockablock" Thursday, May 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Greenhouse Gallery, 1407 College Blvd. in Alva. The exhibition will feature artwork created by four students minoring in visual arts at the university.

Showing a culmination of the work created this semester in their advanced studio class are Ashley Fischer, Enid senior majoring in computer science; Capri Gahr, Carmen junior majoring in mass communication; Brieanna McClure, Dacoma senior majoring in biology; and Alanna Negelein, Pawnee junior majoring in English.

As the class members were deciding on what to name their exhibition, they recalled the word "chockablock" came up a few days earlier on a "Word of the Day" app on Gahr's phone. The word means "a room filled to capacity with things or people," which is somewhat fitting since the location of the show is in what had been a greenhouse business a few years ago that sits next to the Aspen Apartments.

"It kind of describes their studio space," Kyle Larson, assistant professor of art and the instructor for the advanced studio class, said. "Chockablock just means fill to capacity, and we're planning to fill the greenhouse to capacity."

Larson said Vanessa Pettit Brewer, owner of Pettit's House of Carpet and this greenhouse property, was gracious enough to let the visual arts students use it for their exhibitions.

"It's a really nice space, and she's had her crew cleaning it out," Larson said. "The students will be able to curate their own space – a space they can make their own for a short period of time."

These four students have been working on their pieces in this class since the beginning of the semester with techniques that have evolved throughout their years of taking visual arts classes.

This advanced studio class is a capstone course for seniors with the end goal being that they can develop their own individual body of work. Larson said that not only do the students work on their art pieces, but they also write about their work and look at contemporary artists that are similar to their own work.

"By this point they would have taken pretty much all of the art classes leading up to this," Larson said. "They work on developing their own kind of vision and methodology. The work you'll see in the exhibition is the culmination of their own individual work."

Mcclure's artwork primarily deals with the human figure. She said she has made it her goal to capture the essence of her live models adding that her artwork has greatly evolved during her time at Northwestern as she searches for her own artistic voice.

Negelein is appreciative of the lessons Larson has taught her throughout her time in the program and credits him for helping her to find the type of art she enjoys best.

"Thanks to the instruction of Mr. Larson I have grown enormously as an artist," Negelein said. "His advice and persistence to push me out of my box have improved my art exponentially.

"One thing I have learned from this program is that I'm not a painter, and that's OK. I have deep respect for people who paint, but I find myself diving deeper into the world of installation and collage. Mr. Larson has been a huge help in exploring this media, and I am incredibly grateful that he allowed me to explore the kind of art that I am interested in."

Larson said this class also helps to prepare students to be professional artists. He said the students write their artist statements, create a body of work that can be photographed and used to apply to shows, and they build their own website with their work.

Gahr said she didn't have any art classes growing up, so her first experience in art has been at Northwestern.

"I've definitely learned a lot, and I feel I am closer to developing my own personal style because of it," Gahr said.

"The biggest obstacle I faced was bringing all of my experiences to life. The focus for my exhibition is purely from the symptoms I've experienced with my schizophrenia. I tried not to involve too much outside source material to try to keep all my images as raw as possible. The content is pretty personal to me. I try not to take myself seriously and keep everything light-hearted so to depict things that are part of such a serious nature in my life was challenging."

Gahr also said that she hopes her artwork can be educational to bring awareness to schizophrenia.

"I'm hoping that by showing these personal images, I might help others get a glimpse into what it's like with this brain disease," Gahr said. "I like to talk about this subject and be honest about it as often as I can because I was silent about it for so long. I want anyone else dealing with similar things to see that there is a place for us in the world."

Larson said he would like to invite everyone to come support these students and see the works they have created.

"The students have really worked hard this semester, and it's exciting to see them develop artistically," Larson said. "They've evolved and grown, and it's been a pleasure to see that growth throughout their time here at Northwestern."

For more information on this exhibition or the visual arts program contact Larson at 580-327-8108 or [email protected]


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