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Foster Gallery shows to feature works by BFA candidates

April 29, 2013
"Royal Dutch," collage by Jake Heitzig.
"Sabriel," painting by Rebecca Farrow.

EAU CLAIRE — The Foster Gallery at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host two exhibits featuring works by senior bachelor of fine arts degree candidates. "Reckoning" will run from April 30-May 5 and "BFA" will be on display from May 8-13. Each show will feature works by 10 students.

The opening reception for "Reckoning" will be held from 3-5 p.m. May 4, and the "BFA" reception will run from 3-6 p.m. May 11. Following are details about each show:

"Reckoning" — April 30-May 5:

Luke Benson, Altoona, will exhibit three watercolor prints and three digital prints. Benson, who is inspired by pop culture, said he enjoys creating images with interesting characters and a strong sense of narrative.

Heather Brooks, Lakeville, Minn., will exhibit graphic design works and printed wall-mounted pieces.

"Through my art I hope to highlight the beauty in the little things," Brooks said.

Megan Byron, Blaine, Minn., will exhibit mixed-media sculptural work with materials including wood, fabric, paper and others. Byron said she is interested in relational art and will be asking questions through her work.

"I am asking questions about how humanity responds to broken things," Byron said. "I am also asking questions relating to how we perceive who we are and how this changes from a child's to an adult's perspective."

Rebecca Farrow, Germantown, will exhibit a series of paintings in books based on folk tales. Influenced by William Joyce, the illustrator who created the "Guardians of Childhood" series, Farrow said her work intends to make the fantastic appear realistic.

"I want to explore the use and ability of narrative in my work," she said.

Gayle Heit, Arkansaw, will show mixed media using acrylic paint and fabric. Heit said her work is influenced by the multifaceted nature of fabric in its ability to shield, veil and obscure.

"The work lies between representation and abstraction, accumulating everyday textures to speak about a larger story," Heit said.

Jake Heitzig, Woodbury, Minn., will exhibit oil paint, ink and paper on canvas stretched over wood. He said his subject matter revolves around ideas of networks, circuits, links and relationships.

"I'm curious to know where the viewer is taken when 'plugging in' to my work," Heitzig said.

Hannah Lesko, Milwaukee, will show design-based work. She will be branding an annual campout. "'Dad's Camping' is not your typical campout," she said. "The easiest way to describe it is: 'Great families, great friends and great food.'"

April Mooney, Eau Claire, will exhibit painted collage wood panels with animal materials. "My work evokes the interpretation of symbolic meanings of the animal materials in a dream," Mooney said.

Kajsa Piatt, Madison, will show acrylic and ink on canvas. She said her artwork is about beauty in chaos. "I want to express tensions between pattern, shape, motion and depth and how they all connect, but also make us feel slightly uneasy and uncomfortable," Piatt said.

Elly Sebastian, Minneapolis, Minn., will exhibit narrative-based works in an illustrative style. "My illustrations often contain imaginary creatures, the personification of animals and other highly stylized characters," Sebastian said. "I enjoy creating bizarre situations which produce a humorous story for each character."


"BFA" — May 8-13:

Michael Carey, Brooklyn Park, Minn., will exhibit digitally framed illustrations. He said his art is inspired by comic book artists who use shapes of black to block out the facades of the figure. "I am also inspired by animation because of how expressively the characters' emotions are depicted by the animators," Carey said.

Jenny Johns, St. Louis Park, Minn., will exhibit wall-mounted and 3-D graphic designs. "I am showcasing my design philosophy through an interactive piece that ties together past work," Johns said.

Elle McGee, Appleton, will exhibit an interactive website as well as commercial and print materials. She said her work is inspired by the frustration that memes such as "Grumpy Cat" can go viral, but people don't seem to share articles about global warming, fracking, equal rights or politics.

"My idea is to create a social media site dedicated to connecting the voices of our generation to political leaders and representatives," McGee said.

Gen Prock, Eau Claire, will exhibit a set of posters using ink on paper. She said she was influenced by Japanese artwork and animation, minimalist poster design and World War II Russian propaganda.

Melanie Ripley, Stillwater, Minn., will exhibit an installation composed of books that she designed and bound as well as a light fixture made of wire and book pages. She said her work merges her love for design, hand-bound books and storytelling.

"Growing up, I loved to read. I love to physically flip through a book to reveal the story," she said. "As a designer, I love peeling back the layers of a brand and revealing a company through the design."

Daniel Smith, Golden Valley, Minn., will exhibit a combination of sculpture and drawing. He said the concept of hanging concrete slabs and drawings deal with a horizon as a dividing line between the spaces of the living and the dead.

Brenna Stoltenberg, Oregon, will exhibit pieces resembling a personal library centered around books and magazines she's designed and hand bound.

Kevin Szymanski, Eau Claire, will show graphic design. He said he tries to remember that graphic design is a form of communication when creating his work.

"My goal is always to reflect the needs of my client in a clean, clear and creative way," Szymanski said.

Aubre Walther, Eau Claire, will show graphic design in the form of books, brochures, posters, websites and more. "I design everything with clarity and effective communication as my main concern," she said.

Jenna Wiedmeyer, Slinger, will exhibit graphic design in a public awareness campaign. She said her style can be described as fresh vintage, "bringing the old into the now."

"My piece was inspired by the Colorado landscape and our obligation to preserve it," Wiedmeyer said.

For more information about the exhibits, contact Thomas Wagener at



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