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Spring 2016 Senior Exhibition” opens at Bradbury Art Museum


JONESBORO -- Thursday, April 21, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the Bradbury Art Museum will host the opening reception for the “Spring 2016 Senior Exhibition.”

Artwork by students graduating from the Arkansas State University Department of Art will be shown.  Featured in the exhibition are Tyler Adams, Derek Parnell, Mellissa A. Smith, Braden Walls and Kim Ward.  Their paintings, photographs, prints, mixed media objects, wall murals and sculpture will be on display through Saturday, May 14.

Adams grew up in the small town of Gosnell and attended school in Osceola, where she was introduced to divergent social circles, a subject present throughout much of her artwork. She is currently a B.F.A candidate who will earn her degree with an emphasis in drawing and painting.  Her work has been exhibited throughout the area and in many venues at A-State including the Fine Arts Center Gallery, Dean B. Ellis Library Gallery, and Delta Center. Her work is included in private collections from Washington, D.C. to Dallas, Texas. After graduation she plans to continue her career as a studio artist.  She also hopes to study design.

Adams says, “My artwork takes a critical, but romantic approach on the relationship between systemic teaching and its effects on societal hierarchy and identity. The artwork deconstructs “Americanism,” and reproduces visual images that conceptually deal with the weaknesses of one’s self caused by the systematic teaching of normalcy, ideology of racial identity, class, and class structure.”

Parnell is currently working towards his B.F.A. in studio with an emphasis in sculpture.  He has been active as an art student, serving as president of the A-State Art Student Union and exhibiting his work in several juried shows on campus.  His work is introspective in nature, using ideas of secrecy and revelation regarding his own personal life and experiences.  After graduation, Parnell intends to continue working as an artist in Jonesboro, Arkansas where he currently resides.

In his artistic statement he states, “Using the concepts of a blank slate and the human form, these ambiguous figures each tell a story.  Through simple gestures and posture, they convey the concept that every person in a crowd has their own life, thoughts, and motivations.  As a whole, the series explores the complexities and nuances of human interaction.”

Smith who earned an Associate of Fine Art from Arkansas State University-Beebe is currently completing a B.F.A. in studio with an emphasis in painting. She has exhibited in the Fine Art Center Gallery at A-State and the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock. She is a member of the Art Student Union where she serves as the treasurer.

“I’ve always been interested in nature and animals,” states Smith.  “I focus on combining my interests by taking the two together - making them one being. The works reflect a mosaic pattern on negative space. I use watercolor to capture the shape of the flower and put it into the animals.”

Walls's work has been seen in a number of exhibitions, including several group and one solo show, and is included in over 30 private collections. He has received an Associate of Fine Arts degree from A-State and is now completing his B.F.A. with an emphasis in drawing. Currently he is the president of the A-State Art Student Union, the gallery assistant at the Fine Arts Center Gallery, and was awarded an art scholarship for the 2015-16 year. After graduation, he plans to further his studies and earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in hopes of eventually becoming a college art professor.

Walls artist statement reads, “Through the eyes of a young, American, white man, my current work exists between my hope for racial equality and the harsh reality of social injustice and its unrelenting power.”

Ward’s main interests lie in figurative painting and film photography.  She will earn her B.F.A. this May from A-State, where she was awarded an art scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year. After graduating, she intends to continue her education and pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree. Her work is included in several private collections and has shown her work at local exhibitions, including three juried shows.

Ward discusses her work by saying, “In these small paintings I seek to create lush, sensual surfaces that draw the eye. Frozen in layers of paint, these figures are caught in moments of exposure and vulnerability. They dance, they sleep, they bathe, and they embrace—unselfconscious and unashamed. Their bodies are overlaid with floral motifs and gestural strokes that obscure as much as they reveal. In this way, my images dance the line between figuration and abstraction. I am interested in the human body and its idiosyncrasies: the way we touch, the way we move, the way we interact with the bodies of others. It is through an examination of physical intimacy that I hope to uncover the subconscious need and desire for closeness.

The opening reception and exhibition are admission free and open to the public.  Bradbury Art Museum hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday and by appointment.  The museum is closed on Mondays.  For more information email bradburyartmuseum@astate.edu, visit the website at BradburyArtMuseum.org or call 870-972-2567.