Graduate student exhibit features mythology, animals, Kool-Aid

Amber Hoy's "Bitch Gave Me Fleas" exhibit.Photo by Jessica Walters

Amber Hoy’s “Bitch Gave Me Fleas” exhibit.
Photo by Jessica Walters

It’s a popular “movie” moment: characters stand in an art gallery, cock their heads to one side and contemplate the meaning of a piece. Some of us rarely experience these moments in real life, but The Ohio University School of Art gave students the opportunity to ponder the work of their peers at a recent exhibit for graduate art students at the Trisolini Gallery in Baker Center. The exhibit  showcased eccentric yet refreshing sculpture, acrylic paintings and thought-provoking photography.

One particularly eye-catching piece is titled,  “Bitch Gave Me Fleas,” submitted by  photography student Amber Hoy. The piece includes three photographs of the artist exploring gender and cultural identity with simple items from her closet.

“For this series, it was important to me that the characters were pieces of myself physically,” Hoy said.

Some of those items include a cap knitted by her grandfather and an American flag.

"Drink the Kool Aid" by Emily BeveridgePhoto by: Jessica Walters

“Drink the Kool-Aid” by Emily Beveridge.
Photo by Jessica Walters

The cap may seem like an obvious choice to include if it holds sentimental value, but why an American flag? Hoy is not only an artist, but also a veteran–a fact that holds significance in her work. The piece is an exploration of the artist’s identity after returning to the United States after being deported in 2006.

“Part of that assimilation is reworking my identity as an all-inclusive female, artist, student, combat veteran [and] American,” Hoy said.

The pictures are placed in oval wooden frames, the way one would see them in a home, to heighten the feeling of domesticity.

Ian Campbell, a first year graduate student in photography and integrated media, explored themes that struck mythological chords. In his piece “Hippocampus Rex,” Campbell blurred the lines between fact and fantasy.

“I wanted the viewer to be unsure whether the creature in the photograph is real or imaginary,” Campbell said. “The goal was to draw attention to the human urge to categorize, classify, and anthropomorphize the organisms around us.”

The piece, made in gelatin sliver print, compelled the viewer to dive deep into thoughts of mythological animals they perhaps only heard of  in childhood; where mystery, science and fantasy meet.

“I was inspired by the possibility of mystery and the unknown that persists in the deep dark  recesses of the ocean,” Campbell said.

Animals became a reoccurring component in  another artist’s work as well. “Drink the Kool-Aid,” by first year graduate student Emily Beveridge, is crafted with mixed media, cut paper and acrylic paint. It features sinister-looking alligators and a few mice that seem to be literally “drinking the Kool-Aid”

"Three liner" by Hannah Cameron.Photo by: Jessica Walters

“Three liner” by Hannah Cameron.
Photo by Jessica Walters

“My idea for this piece came from the phrase ‘drink the Kool-Aid’ which means follow along with an ideology, even if it is not good for you to,” Beveridge said.

The phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” came from the famous mass suicide of the Jonestown cult who committed suicide by drinking poisoned Kool-Aid either by choice or force. The artist related this to the contemporary art world because of other artists producing work that does not express their own voice, but rather fits into a trend.

The creative atmosphere continued with an interesting piece by graduate student Hannah Cameron titled,  “Three liner.” Compiled of a white blanket on a wooden pallet,  the bottom half of a shark, a mannequin and a cheetah lay on top of the blanket. Those who saw this piece may have differing thoughts on the piece’s meaning, but there is no argument that it made a passerby stop and think.

The show in the Trisolini Gallery in Baker Center was without a  doubt an atmosphere of creative ideas, opening the eyes of viewers and artists alike.

Check out Trisolini Gallery’s calendar of events for upcoming exhibits. Tweet us your favorite pieces @SpeakeasyMag!

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