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Calvin Seniors Culminate Art Majors
March 7, 2007

A quartet of Calvin College bachelor of fine arts students will present work that communicates across media in a pair of back-to-back exhibitions in two different spaces.

First up will be "About that Time: 2007 BFA Exhibition," which will be held Friday, March 9 through Saturday, March 17 at Calvin’s Center Art Gallery. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held at the gallery 7-9 p.m. on March 9.

A second show of different work by the same artists will be held Saturday, March 16 through Friday, March 30 at 106 South Division, the college’s downtown gallery. An opening reception for that show will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, March 16 at that venue.

The shows are a culmination of the students’ artistic careers at Calvin says art history professor and exhibitions chair Lisa Van Arragon.

"We are always working with the student, ideally," she says. "At the end, they have a well-developed body of work, and that shows up in the exhibition.”

The BFA program at Calvin is demanding, she says. Students apply with a portfolio of their work, and, once in the program, they take an expanded course load -- which includes a generous amount of time spent working in the studio -- and submit to regular critiques of their work by the art faculty.

“We think of the BFA as preparing someone to be a practicing artist, but the program doesn’t have one single intention," says Van Arragon. "It’s to prepare someone for how to be an effective practitioner in one area of art. They could be a successful graphic designer. They could be a painter. They could be a wide variety of things.”

Bob BosscherThis year’s BFA exhibition features the work of ceramist and sculptor Robert Bosscher (left), sculptor and painter Taylor Greenfield, sculptor and painter Heather Luimes, and sculptor and photographer Bradley Smith.

The four are good representations of the intensive nature of the BFA concentration, which requires students to achieve the advanced level in three media.

Bosscher, who hails from Orlando, Florida, is exhibiting not only a wealth of ceramic art-such as his "Self Portrait" composed of hundreds of small pinch pots-but work in fabric and metal as well. Greenfield , a Grand Rapids native, assembles sculpture and painting in intriguing forms, including her collaboration with Heather Luimes on a substantial installation. Luimes, originally from Caledonia , Ontario , demonstrates an interest in design and pattern that translates across several media. And Smith, most recently from Kuwait , combines photography and sculpture in what Van Arragon terms "conceptual art practice," noting "he does a lot of things that you might almost consider a performance."

Both shows are self-selected and self-installed by the students, and this too prepares them as working artists, Van Arragon says.

"With all of the students in the show, their work is not just about single objects, but it's about how you interact with objects within space and how objects relate to one another or to the viewer."

Designing shows for two different spaces, the campus and downtown galleries, added to the challenge.

"It's preparation for something they'll do throughout their career, and that is present their work to the public," Van Arragon says. "People will work commercially, or they'll work non-commercially, but hopefully they'll always have the attitude that their work is to be seen. So this is practice for how you envision your work in exhibition. How do you come up with ideas for presentation and display of your work?"

Bosscher, a fifth year senior, appreciates the many types of concentrated work that has gone into earning a BFA.

"I think the program is for anyone who takes their own art practice seriously and who wants to put in the work and get the feedback," he says. "It's intense, and you have to take it seriously. You have to be ready for it. You have to give it a lot. It's a lot of time spent in the art department, which is fun, and you also start seeing these overlaps in classes where you see classes come together, and it really pushed me to think in a whole new way about art and art making."

Luimes agrees, especially about the feedback.

"I especially wanted the critique time because most of your learning comes from the critiques. That's where you learn what's working, what's not, where you need to tweak things and what you want to see pushed through or developed until the end. Although, it was a lot of late nights, a couple of sleepovers down there. But I think the art department is unique that way because it is a community where people are hard at work. That's something I've really grown to enjoy and I'm going to miss: There's always someone down there, working."

~written by Calvin staff writer Myrna Anderson

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