April 17, 2014 / 5:34 pm

BFA Thesis Show at the Grunwald Gallery

The Grunwald Gallery has some new work up this week, which will be on display from April 15 to 19. This week’s artists include Hilary Givens (graphic design), Zach Felts (photography), Hannah Spiegel (painting) and Evelyn Walker (sculpture). The show’s opening will be this Friday from 6 to 8 p.m.

I had the opportunity to speak with Zach Felts and Hannah Spiegel before this week’s show.

Hannah Spiegel is a painter about to graduate from the BFA program. She’s been making art as long as she can remember. “my mom used to put me and my brother outside with a huge piece of paper and some paints, strip us naked and let us go! I drew a lot in adolescence, almost exclusively people and portraits. I made a more serious transition into painting when I learned how it could turn my drawings into something I thought was better, which happened around freshman year of high school I believe. In college I learned how to mix colors and use oil paints correctly, and I’ve been in love with them ever since.”

Spiegel’s art is inspired by the people in her life as well as “the idea of art making as a conversation.” Her friends are her models, and they play a great deal in her artistic process. This year, her work “deals with the concept of the individual, the human condition, love, depression, and the psychology of the human mind.” These topics are most definitely artistically strong ones; Spiegel’s work displays these themes throughout many mediums and in many effective ways.

What she has displayed in the Gallery is thoughtful. The work includes all of her semester’s thesis work, including a self-portrait she created last semester. It was included with the collection to complete the dialogue of her works, which is also inclusive of paintings, drawings, and writings derived from one-on-one “sessions” and then arranged into clusters to represent each individual or group of individuals.

After Hannah graduates, she plans on acquiring a higher paying job and continuing to paint alongside it. She also has the desire to more extensively explore mediums other than painting and drawing.

 

Zach Felts came on WIUX 99.1 FM to speak with me bright and early on Sunday morning. First we talked about his origins as a photographer. Like many of us creatives, Zach began the art making process as soon as he was able to. And like many of us, the camera became a favorite childhood pastime. However, Zach’s interest in capturing a moment eventually surpassed that of the average child; once in high school, he was able to hone his skills and truly realize his passions.

Zach: “I began photographing at a young age whenever my family would go to zoos. Also, around this time, say 8 years of age, I began making little stop motion films with my parents first digital camera and would then slideshow them for the family with my narrations. These two experiences were probably my earliest interests in photography. In high school I became very interested in the darkroom process and with the aid of my high school teacher, local BHSS teacher Staci Jennings, I became more and more interested.”

As a photographer, Zach told me that his favorite process was large format film. The slow process cultivates focus for him; however, most of his work is digital, as this format is the most flexible and inexpensive.

Then I asked Zach about what his favorite subject matter was:

Zach: “My favorite subject matter is hard to pin point. I enjoy looking at a variety of subjects, from analytical work void of emotion to work that has a very personal presence. However, I feel more motivated when making more personal work.”

His current work is being shown at the Grunwald thesis exhibition. It is entitled Impermanent Bond, and exhibits the highly personal and intimate theme of “a visualization of instability within familial relationships, specifically mother and child, during times of transition and crisis.”

Themes of motherhood are prevalent in the pieces Felts has in the Grunwald this week. He said, “There is a significant degree of sympathizing with my mother through this type of art making that allows for a glimpse into her first person perspective on motherhood even though I myself can only experience it from a third person perspective. I think any mother in a position of physical or emotional weakness due to life changes out of their control feels a certain amount of discomfort around their children.”

After graduation, Felts plans to intern in New York at the International Center of Photography.