On Saturday, April 2, 2022, eight senior art and design majors presented their finest work at their Senior Art Exhibit in the Kauffman Gallery. A variety of mediums were displayed, from paintings to ceramics to digital animation; the room hosted the wide range of skills the students cultivated during their time at Shippensburg University. Each student chose to focus on a specific theme for their collection of pieces and gave a brief synopsis of their interests during the event.
Adalyne Graybill demonstrated her skills with printmaking, a medium that requires tight precision for the clearest picture. “I wanted to work on defining my linework and technique in printmaking,” Graybill explained to the audience when asked about her focus. The process of making each stamp involves engraving the negative version of the design wanted, and it is therefore highly impressive that Graybill achieved such clarity and consistency in the pieces she showed. The crispness of each line makes the images pop out, and the repetition of certain patterns with slight variations tell stories in and of themselves.
Cayris Wright chose to show her camera skills and love of nature with her five pieces. Inspired by the work she saw artist Andrew Goldsworthy create, Wright wanted to highlight the aspects of nature she found most beautiful and unique. She did so by manipulating her landscape with natural materials such as berries, sticks, flowers and moss to create magical, fairytale-like photos. In addition to her framed work, Wright also brought samples of the materials she used in each photo to be displayed her work. She did this to allow her audience to further engage “all five senses” as they experienced her part of the exhibit. Wright said that her most defining moments in the art world have been when she fails, as it proves she still has room to evolve. “If I succeed at all my ideas, I would never be challenged and would therefore never grow,” she noted. Trusting the process is what makes art difficult, but clearly worthwhile as seen through Wright’s photography.
Shifting into contemporary art, Cassandra Sporko showed six of her modern takes on teapots as a demonstration of how far art can go. She was particularly inspired to add interesting handles and feet to her pieces, and many looked so much like sculpture it was surprising they were fully functional. Sporko expressed that when building each of her teapots she felt they developed personalities of their own. Every element of their design was intended to match their perceived character, leaving the audience with six unique forms. After graduation, Sporko intends to work in graphic design and hopefully open her own ceramics studio to keep up with her clay-work. Whatever her plans, she will be leaving Shippensburg with buckets of inspiration through her work and presence in the ceramics studio.
In the graphic design arena, Taylor Feay showed off her skills in animation and choreography with a simple video of a figure dancing. Her piece shows the evolution she experienced throughout her time in college and life, with the figure changing colors to represent the major mental shifts she worked through. To make the piece, she filmed herself performing the routine and used that as her reference, creating frame by frame of her dance. In today’s modern age of technology, it is easy to overlook this piece as being overly simplistic , but it is important to understand that this work took hours of dedication to make. The body is complex, and the fluidity of Feay’s animation shows skills that take years to cultivate. After graduation in May, she intends to move to Texas and continue her career into graphic design. With the basics mastered, Taylor Faey is a name to look out for in the future.
Moving back into ceramics, the SU community has been blessed by a titan of clay for the past four years. Alexis Shockey came to Shippensburg after a two-year gap after college during which she developed an affinity for clay and her own business, Blue Lemonade Ceramics. Her online shop normally features bright and whimsical designs, but for her senior exhibition, Shockey took a shift towards a more raw, emotional feel. She showed several dark, organic vessels in which the shadows and white space they created formed the figures of woman. On the pedestals, Shockey wrote out the stories of women’s experiences with assault, violence and abuse. She called the creation of these pieces therapeutic, as she worked through trauma and grief in order to create sculptures to educate and bring awareness. Her skill coupled with her clear vision made these pieces something entirely new to the viewer. Shockey’s work always stands out as one of a kind, and the messages behind each of the vessels left a certain mark on those who saw them.
Keeping with the theme of light and shadows, Samantha Jays used her senior year to focus on capturing dream-like feelings on photographs. While originally unsure of what she wanted to study in college, Jay always knew she had a creative inclination. Her photographs show incredible depth and feelings of nostalgia for something you cannot quite remember. The art world is not always easy, Jays noted. “Being an Art major has taught me creative problem-solving skills unlike any other,” Jays said. The amount of criticism received during the creative process is all intended to help, even if it can feel hurtful in the moment. Being able to take criticism and learn from it is a skill highly sought after in the professional world, and with her eagle eye for the perfect shot, Jays will surely find success in anything she puts her mind to.
Art comes in many forms, and the definition of what is fine art is stretched with every step into the common era. Stone Lampley sought to capitalize on redefining what can be fine by designing contemporary sculptures solely out of cardboard. The concepts he focused on included tension and balance, pushing the envelope of what can stand alone without falling. The shapes he created seemed suspended, alluding to concepts every architect dreams of and every engineer fears. Lampley remarked that he would have never pursued sculpture without the support of professor Steve Dolbin, who taught him how to create not just art, but something physical to add to the world. After graduation, Lampley intends to pass on this inspiration to his own future students, as well as pursue his education further to get his masters degree in fine art.
The final senior to show their work, Brandon Mariano featured two massive acrylic paintings that focused on the feelings of life. The constant ebb and flow of the lines were intended to mimic how different unseen factors of living blend together. The shapes and colors and movement are seamlessly combined in both untitled pieces, and viewers may find different meanings based on their own backgrounds. The shapes are meant to evoke the different paths of life and the cohesion of everything. In “translating the human experience” into art, as Mariano put it during his speech, he connected more with his own thoughts and emotions, treating each project as a meditative reflection. His painting, "Untitled #1" took home Best in Exhibit at the 44th Annual Juried Art Exhibit.
Each senior worked tirelessly to put forth their very best in this exhibition and show the immense amount of talent the art and design program at SU fosters. While each student will be graduating and moving on from the university, their art and creativity will continue to flow into all of their endeavors.