Sean VandenBrink and his cupboard of paintings.
This year, both the bachelor of arts (BA) and the bachelor of fine arts (BFA) exhibitions will be held at the same time, thanks to the extra exhibition space provided by the new Center Art Gallery located in the Fine Arts Center. Formerly, these exhibitions were held in different weeks at the (106) South Division Gallery downtown.
The BA and BFA graduating seniors are displaying their artwork in the two art galleries from Friday, May 6 to Saturday, May 21. For each student involved in the exhibitions, the events are the culmination of their art education at Calvin.
The BFA is a professional degree, intended for students pursuing a career in the fine arts while the BA gives a solid background in art for students who enjoy art, but don’t necessarily want to make it their career. The BFA degree requires more art classes and semester reviews of the students’ artwork in order to continue with the program.
The BFA Students
The four BFA seniors whose work is featured in the exhibit are Meredith Donnelly, Hannah Abma, Aletheia Shin, and Sean VandenBrink. Abma and Shin have their artwork displayed downtown in the 106 Gallery while Donnelly and VandenBrink have set up their artwork in the Center Art Gallery.
“The BFA program at Calvin has really equipped me to grow as an artist and challenged me to push my technical skills and conceptual ideas,” said Donnelly, whose art focuses on words in several forms from sculpture pieces to drawings to metal cutouts. She explores brokenness and failure in relationships and the possibility of healing.
VandenBrink uses a variety of media from paintings to cabinets to sculpture pieces to explore topics of family and memory.
Shin works mostly with 3D functional/sculptural artwork. “This exhibition echoes back to my experience growing up as a third-culture kid,” she said about her portion of the exhibition. She created her art to get the viewer to contemplate how their identities were built.
“When I came to Calvin I initially never really considered doing the BFA program, but I knew I would still take art courses,” said Abma, “Then I just wanted to take as many as I could, it was a whole new way of looking at things, like learning a new language really.” Her work explores how the microscopic is connected to the macroscopic in her paintings and drawings, which are inspired by microscopic images of cells in the nervous system.
The artwork of the 12 BA graduating seniors will be displayed in the larger room in the Center Art Gallery. Each BA student submitted several pieces of art for review by an oversight committee, which chose the pieces for exhibition. The oversight committee looked for exceptional interpretations of assignments, a high level of creativity, and excellent technique in their deliberations on which pieces should be displayed.
The BA artwork spans several types of art taught at Calvin—from different styles of paintings and drawings to sculptures to photography. The oversight committee looked for exceptional interpretations of assignments, a high level of creativity, and excellent technique in their deliberations on which pieces should be displayed.
“The exhibitions both showcase the success of our students and our program,” said art history professor Henry Luttikhizen. "It is part of the expectation of professional artists that they organize and participate in exhibitions. These shows help students make the transition to their careers.”
There will be a reception at both galleries on Friday, May 20 from 5-9 p.m. to celebrate the students’ artwork. Refreshments will be provided.