When fine arts majors prepare to graduate, they must go beyond the classroom and put together an exhibition as their final farewell to USD. This week, five seniors are showcasing their work in their Blacksheep exhibition.
The Blacksheep exhibition opened Monday and will be open all week, with the closing reception on Friday night from 6-8 p.m. in the John A. Day Gallery in the Warren M. Lee Center for Fine Arts.
Emma Johnson, senior fine arts major with an emphasis in printmaking, said the exhibit is a good opportunity to prepare for life after graduation.
“(Putting together the show) was hard,” Johnson said. “I am so happy with how it turned out. It’s really good experience to put together a show with a group of people, especially people you aren’t used to working with. It is just an experience you are definitely going to need going into the real world.”
Putting together a gallery gives students an opportunity to make connections and learn how to pick the featured pieces.
Andrew Cooper, senior fine arts major with an emphasis in graphic design, said working on the gallery has given him experience in promoting his ideas.
“For graphic design majors, it is also about connections, but it is also about promoting ideas,” he said. “Graphic design is all about presenting an idea for the public to take in, so this is a good opportunity to grow that skill.”
Putting together an exhibit is a graduation requirement and seniors are randomly placed in groups of five for their final exhibit. The exhibits are held all throughout the semester.
The name “Blacksheep” was decided after the group met and talked about potential promotions for the exhibit.
“When we thought about what we wanted to do for advertising, we came up with this idea for a poster being a kind of fun vintage family photo,” Cooper said. “From there, we kind of progressed to growing up being the artsy kids, the idea of family with the picture and our own identities… it kind of fit.”
Johnson said having a theme for student showcases is rare because the groups are randomly selected, and the art doesn’t necessarily follow a theme.
“Making a theme for these shows is usually pretty tough just because it is a random selection of art students,” she said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say it has a theme, but we called it Blacksheep because we were trying to go with (the) idea that artists are always the black sheep of the family.”
The Blacksheep exhibit showcases various forms of artwork on all kinds of media. Artists were able to select whatever pieces they wanted for the show, even if they do not correlate with their major.
Johnson said it was hard for her to decide what pieces she wanted to showcase, and ultimately decided to display a series of four paintings as well as a yarn display.
“It was tough, because I am actually a printmaking major and I don’t have any prints in the show,” Johnson said. “I recently started working on this series of paintings. Picking what goes into your show is hard, but it is just normally your most recent work or a series you are working to finish.”
Each artist has different hopes of what people get out of the exhibit. Johnson said she hopes people can take away her message on the lack of education women are offered about their bodies.
“I have a series of four paintings that are all of young women within their own bathrooms,” Johnson said. “I am talking about how in our society, women aren’t really educated about their bodies. I think the bathroom becomes this sort of important space that women can learn about, scrutinize and accept their own bodies because it is not something that we are taught about in the world.”
Cooper said he hopes viewers will leave the exhibit with more knowledge on different mediums of art.
“I think maybe outside of the art world, maybe a deeper appreciation of art and different ways that art can be showcased,” Cooper said. “I just hope that people get what they can out of it and take the time to be patient with work that is presented. I think at first glance you don’t get the full meaning. If people sit with things they can really get the deeper meaning.”
Carly Ribstein, senior fine arts major with an emphasis in graphic design, said the wide variety of pieces is what makes Blacksheep a unique exhibit.
“I think the variety truly makes our exhibition unique. We’ve collaborated in a way that lets everyone’s strengths shine,” Ribstein said. “I love the variety of different styles we are showcasing in the exhibit, and I love the way our personalities show through.”