Nine Mercyhurst University senior art students present their final undergraduate works in the latest exhibition at the Cummings Gallery, “Forever Endeavor,” beginning March 25 and continuing through April 28.
The artists will be honored at a reception on Saturday, April 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
The featured artists are Jeffrey Thiede, Hilda Navarro, Katelyn Cecchetti, Durim Loshaj, Paulina Wielandt, Kaylyn Stack, Kathryn LeVan, Carli Hatfield and Karma Smith.
Jeffrey Thiede, a graphic design major, created book cover designs for classic literary works, including Fahrenheit 451, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lord of the Flies, Carrie and Revolutionary Road. In addition to his book cover design, Thiede also designed the exhibit announcement.
Hilda Navarro, a studio art major with a minor in photography, displays unique photographs that involve movement that comes from suspending dyes in water. For her senior thesis, she worked with digital photography. The play of light in her photographs produces an inimitable moment of color that cannot be recreated, making each image unique.
“Through the medium of photography, I seek to express color in all its variety,” she said. “It is a way for me to experiment with openness and chance. My art is not an excuse to push some form of idea at a viewer… My intention is to leave the viewer satisfied with a mix of pleasant and unresolved feelings and thoughts.”
Education major Katelyn Cechetti found inspiration for her oil paintings in her mother’s preschool classroom, with the belief that children and all that they encounter can be the best subjects. She explores realistic depictions of Legos and other children’s toys.
Durim Loshaj presents three clean-cut, bright works of acrylics on canvas: “Parallel Universe” and “Coat of Arms Nos. 1 and 2,” which illustrate how nature may seem chaotic, but in actuality follows an ordered pattern.
“My art depicts nature in an abstract manner, because they both follow a blueprint comprised of symmetry, spirals, waves, geometry and repetition,” he said. “I'm trying to illustrate that once these patterns are discovered in my art, the chaos becomes order and the connectedness between the paintings is more evident.”
Art therapy major Paulina Weilandt displays a collection of whimsical animals, utilizing acrylic on paper and canvas. Her pieces originated from dress patterns that were donated by her grandmother, Janie Wielandt. Her project then expanded from dress patterns into working with maps of the United States. Throughout the use of lines on these materials, she showcases how animals come together.
“I start each piece as a single idea, but in the end, more than one meaning arises,” she said. “As an artist, these patterns have allowed me to grow through the support of my family, wherever they may be.”
Kaylyn Stack explores the impermanence of life in her artwork through manipulated photo montages of dancers, which she said displays the perfect impermanent qualities of physical movement and street art. “The visions of fleeting beauty, physicality, propulsion and expression remained steadfast throughout my artistic process,” she said.
Kathryn LeVan displays 42 realistic oil paintings of birds, seeking to overwhelm the viewer and make them think about those small inhabitants of the world. She aims to paint the small animals realistically and in great quantity to bring otherwise forgotten objects to top-of-mind awareness.
Carli Hatfield, a double major in art therapy and art education, uses charcoal and colored pastels to highlight the eyes on the images she features in her senior thesis work. “Eyes are the window into the soul,” she said, “and the most expressive part of the body.”
Through her display of silver gelatin photographs of badly pruned trees in Erie, Karma Smith focuses on the negative effects an environment can have on one’s life. She incorporates four black and white images that surround a six-by-four-foot charcoal drawing of a badly pruned tree, accomplished in a surrealist fashion.
Cummings Gallery is located in the lobby of the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center. The show is free and open to the public weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 2 to 5 p.m. Check out the gallery’s Facebook page, “Cummings Gallery at Mercyhurst University.” For more information, call 814-824-2092.