Senior 'Bloom' exhibit shows artists' growth

By Marissa LaPorte | 4/18/16 12:31am


A cumulative array of artwork from five Grand Valley State University illustration students was placed on public display just before their quickly approaching graduation. The name of the exhibit “BLOOM” represents for them the fruition of their artistic careers as well as the theme of nature in their artwork.

"BLOOM" was a Bachelor of Fine Arts show presented by illustration students Nick Baldwin, Emma DuFort, Caroline Elsner, Lynn Hunsanger and Brianne McBryde. With the overall theme of nature, DuFort said “BLOOM” was a name all five artists agreed on at the beginning of the semester. DuFort believes the name represents their “final bloom” by displaying all of the work they’ve done the past four years. McBryde said the name is appropriate because of the spring season and as a metaphor for their upcoming graduation.

“We talked a little bit about how our projects had a narrative to (them) and so you can see it as a flower blooming—as in, we’re leaving school so our projects are starting a bigger picture,” McBryde said.

Despite the unifying theme, each artist tackled the idea of nature in a different way. Baldwin presented an interactive videogame he designed and focused on the forest as a natural aspect. While DuFort designed representations of a national park and McBryde created a comic in narrative style with a main character who owns a flower shop.

DuFort said even though all five artists took a different approach to their studies, all of their work presented in the art gallery was a celebration of narratives concerning life and nature. The public closing reception for “BLOOM” on April 14 gave the artists a chance to engage with those who came to inquire about or view their projects.

“A lot of the people—and my family—who visited (the closing reception) wanted to know more about what industries we were interested in because we all had a really different approach to illustration,” DuFort said.

DuFort said holding this art gallery and being a part of the reception was good experience for her future as an artist.

“It’s really important to learn how to set up a show,” DuFort said. “A lot of the time you have to work in a gallery context. It’s important to learn to work as a team and divide up your responsibilities.”

Baldwin also saw an educational purpose in participating in the art gallery at GVSU.

“The culmination of all our schoolwork coming together to this one point—that’s what we first bring into the professional world,” Baldwin said.

For more information visit, www.gvsu.edu/artgallery.

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