Review: Senior art gallery features self-expression, elegance

The senior art show will be on display in the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery from April 28 to May 21. This exhibition showcases the work of students graduating from the art program in 2022. These students poured their hearts into pieces that reflect their artistic passions, and several of the pieces were purchased by Augustana University to be displayed in the permanent collection.

The students graduating this year made it through an incredible obstacle: the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges thrown at them, the graduating seniors persevered. The pieces displayed in the gallery impressively demonstrate the strength of budding artists.

Many of the students chose themes for their showcased pieces. A shared theme between students was self-reflection. Angie Cagle focused all of her pieces on the journey that she has made to become an artist. 

She reflected on her life and used her artwork as a way to process her feelings. Cagle believes that she has learned many valuable lessons through art, but the most important one for her was to remain aware of her goals. 

“Mistakes happen, and it’s not always the end of the world,” Cagle said. “But [don’t] sacrifice what you want for the good of someone else.” 

A piece that Cagle has on display is titled “Another Impossible Year (Suffocated).” This gorgeous self-portrait is painted on a shocking orange canvas. The figure, Cagle herself, has her arms crossed with her hands embracing her throat. It would look like she was choking herself if it weren’t for the peaceful, content expression on her face. Head slightly leaning back, the figure’s eyes close lightly, and her lips press gently together. 

The color scheme of the piece is mostly warm tones, with cool blues and greens strategically used as shadows. Despite the alarming background color, this piece is elegant, and the contrast between the figure and the orange canvas sharply captures the attention of viewers.

Another piece in the gallery, titled “Ebb and Flow,” is a part of Alexa Lammers’ water-themed collection. Lammers chose to focus on water because she was entranced by its fluidity. 

“Over this past year, I’ve kind of been inspired by the concept of water and the mindset of going with the flow of life and everything it throws at you rather than getting caught up on resisting changes,” Lammers said.

“Ebb and Flow” gorgeously imitates water. The little ripples of water seem to spill out of the canvas, and the almost angry color of the waves makes the piece seem stormy. However, the undertones of blue bring about a serene feeling, and the water can be interpreted as the aftermath of a cannonball jump into the lake.

Two of the students, Lammers and Gracie Rothering, won Harold Spitznagel Medals for their artistic pursuits. This medal is the highest honor that the art department can bestow. 

“It is given out to outstanding art students,” said John Peters, an art professor and the gallery coordinator. “We don’t do it every year. Sometimes we go several years without awarding one. It is something the whole art faculty agrees upon to give to a student who’s shown excellence in everything that they’ve done.”

The graduating seniors from the art program will soon inspire the world with their talent. While art can be used as a career, it is also a personal and wspiritual hobby. 

“One thing I always try to talk to them about is to try and find a way to keep working on your own artwork,” Peters said. “Even if you have a job doing art for somebody else, do art for yourself.” 

The students of the art program at Augustana are now able to go out into the world leading with their best foot forward, having their art as a vocation but also as a personal form of expression.

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