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Work by Senior Art Students Featured in Exhibition at BAM


JONESBORO – The final exhibition of the academic year will open to the public 5-6:30 p.m. this Thursday, April 26, at the Bradbury Art Museum in Arkansas State University's Fowler Center.

The exhibiting artists are seven students graduating from the Department of Art and Design.  They include Jennifer M. Cooper, Casen Elaine, Rachel Goldammer, Holly Johnson, Sabrina Luttrell, Dave Persell and Darian DeSháwn Stewart.

The 2018 Senior Exhibition and the reception are admission-free and open to the public. The exhibition runs through Wednesday, May 9.

Jennifer M. Cooper of Blytheville will receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in sculpture. As a student she participated in the Art Student Union Juried Exhibition in both 2016 and 2017.  For the past two years her work has been included in several sculpture displays throughout the A-State campus, including one titled Labyrinth, in the Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Much of Cooper’s nature-centric work is based on childhood memories.  Having spent a great deal of time outdoors has influenced her work, in particular her current series on display at BAM, of flowers and trees. Discussing her inspiration Cooper says, “I’ve had a strong connection with nature from a very young age. Most of the flowers and trees I used were from the first house I can remember.”

After graduation she will continue creating art in a new studio she plans to construct.

Casen Elaine of Batesville, also known as Casen Elaine Courtney, is a studio art major with an emphasis in drawing and painting. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the fall.  Last summer her work was included in an exhibition by advanced drawing students in the Fine Arts Center Gallery.

Elaine will exhibit a new body of work that consists of two series of portraits.  One is mixed media of people who have inspired and supported her and the other consists of a progression of self-portraits representing her new-found self-acceptance.

After graduation she plans to move to Nashville and begin a career as a professional artist.

Rachel Goldammer, who grew up in Monette, will earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2018 with an emphasis in drawing and painting. Her work was seen in the 2015 Art Student Union Juried Exhibition.  She also participated in a summer class project which produced a downtown Jonesboro mural, and she was a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

Discussing the body of work on view in the exhibition she states, “I create pieces that put emphasis on how a woman should feel comfortable in her own skin and love her body the way it is. Each piece either uses line or collage to convey this message in their own way.”

After graduation she plans to continue her career as a practicing artist.

Holly Johnson of Ripley, Tenn., is working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in painting and sculpture.  She enjoys depicting wildlife and slightly morbid creatures she designs.  Outside of her course work Johnson enjoys creating and illustrating characters.

Johnson has participated in several group exhibitions, including the Fine Arts Center Gallery Shows in 2012 and 2015 and the 2017 Juried Pottery Sale.  In 2017 she was the winner of the Art Student Union Juried Exhibition.

An art scholarship student, she participated with fellow artists in the creation of a mural in downtown Jonesboro.  She also participated in several art fairs as both an exhibiting artist and an art agent managing booths at Smash! and Gamma.con in Australia.  She currently works at A-State as the Fine Arts Center Gallery assistant.

After graduation, she plans to move to Canberra, Australia where she will pursue either a career in illustration or gallery work and she will also further her education.

Sabrina Luttrell  of Blytheville, will receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis on painting and drawing.  She has been an active member of the Art Student Union. Her current body of work is based on the still life which she depicts with a twist.

Luttrell says of the work in the exhibition, “In creating this series I knew that I wanted to paint still lifes, but I also knew that many artists years ahead have created the same images. So I began the research. As the search began, my eye was drawn to the 17th-century Dutch genre called vanitas. Which mainly focused on symbolic items that would represent change in life, death and inevitability. Instead of constantly painting skulls within the still life to represent the vanitas, I found ways around to represent that same meaning. So within this series I have included progressions of items that were once whole slowly begin to decay or change form.”

Dave Persell of Trenton, Mo., completed his first undergraduate degree in religion in 1976, followed later with a master's degree in religious education. In 2015 he began taking classes as a studio art major and will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. This opportunity has opened doors that allow him to express his faith through his art.

Persell has received several awards and participated in numerous exhibitions.  This year his work has been seen in Create@State, Oasis Arts Fest, and the Art Student Union Juried Exhibition.

Persell explains his current exhibition by stating, “My Creation series was inspired by a question posed by a philosophy professor when I was a college student (the first time), 'Can a person know an artist by a study of their work?'  Art historians, critics, professors and students alike would give ascent to the fact that an artist reveals themselves and expresses not only their ‘feelings’ but their identity through their work. That fact still stirs my amazement and curiosity."

He plans to continue his artwork in retirement.

Darian DeSháwn Stewart of Hardy will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in both painting and graphic design. He has been an active member of both the Art Student Union, where he currently serves as president, and AIGA, which is the professional association for design. He participated in the Art Student Union Art Juried Exhibition in both 2017 and 2018 and the 2017 AIGA Southern Student Graphic Design Show, where he received both a bronze and gold award. Stewart also collaborated with several other artists to create the downtown Jonesboro mural, and he has provided photography and window art for several businesses in the area.

He says of the series "Within My Blended Skin," which will be on display in this exhibition, “I explore the idea of beauty through personal observation. My work focuses on the beauty I see within these unique individuals and their varying skin complexions, in contrast with what others might view as repulsive.”

BAM hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, noon to 7 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday and by appointment.  For additional information please contact the museum at (870) 972-2567.

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Jennifer M. Cooper

Ditch Lilies, 2017
oil and acrylic on panel
48 x 72 inches

Casen Elaine

In the Dark, 2017
chalk pastel on paper
30 x 22 inches

Rachel Goldammer

Splendiferous, 2018
India ink pen on tracing paper
14 x 37.5 inches

Holly Johnson

Pomegranate Heart, 2017
oil on canvas
48 x 36 inches


Dave Persell
Golden Girl, 2018
16 x 20 inches

Darian DeSháwn Stewart

JonJon in the Forest, 2017
mixed media and oil
48 x 48 inches

Sabrina Luttrell

Deconstructed Pineapple, 2018
oil on canvas
36 x 12 inches