Art department accentuates diversity, creativity

George Stone, associate professor of art, discusses important details about the senior art exhibition with art majors Debbie Lee and Kelly Thompson. Senior art majors will be displaying their projects in the Harris Art Gallery May 19-25. The opening reception for the artists is May 19 at 7:30 p.m. / photo by Jamie Bigornia
George Stone, associate professor of art, discusses important details about the senior art exhibition with art majors Debbie Lee and Kelly Thompson. Senior art majors will be displaying their projects in the Harris Art Gallery May 19-25. The opening reception for the artists is May 19 at 7:30 p.m. / photo by Jamie Bigornia

by Jennifer Parsons
Staff Writer

With a wide array of options, the University of La Verne’s Art Department majors can emphasize in anything from art history to sculpting.

Designed to bring art shows inside and serve as a community outreach, the building of the Harris Art Gallery and the relocation of the entire Art Department from the Supertents have been a few of the changes the department has undergone in an attempt to continuously upgrade the program.

“We could use more equipment and money to improve the program and facilities, and also to develop a better visiting artist program,” said George Stone, associate professor of art.

Students majoring in art are not the only ones benefiting from the courses.

“The Art Department has a lot to offer. Everything you see, use and deal with on a day-to-day basis is not natural. It has been designed by someone, somewhere, somehow. That is art. If nothing else this helps look at the world in a new way.

“Students are required to take an art class. My goal is to hope it opens their eyes and they are able to perceive the world more clearly and have the abilities to make a positive change and to effect how the environment looks,” said Stone.

Focusing on the art majors, Stone hopes to “train artists to be as open-minded, creative, unique individuals with the possibility to develop their inner talents or abilities so that they contribute to a much larger cultural world.”

Graduating this year, are six art majors, Jamie Bigornia, Darcee M. Golden, Sergeant Rock Ishikawa, Annette Keane, Debbie Lee and Kelly Thompson, each with an individual emphasis.

Bigornia, emphasizing in design, has created a performance piece “Post Materialism,” accentuating the discomfort of fashion. His Senior Art Thesis Exhibition will be May 14 in the studio art building.

“I would like to have women look at fashion and put their own style and opinion into it rather than wearing what is ‘in.’ I want to exaggerate and get across the discomfort of it,” said Bigornia.

With an emphasis in wildlife art, Thompson is presenting a painting of wild bulls along with a design of wildlife merchandise during the “Blue Light Special,” May 19-25, which is the culmination of all six of the students’ senior art theses. Thompson plans to get her masters in fine arts at California State Fullerton and teach after graduation.

Planning to display a mock catalog of appropriation, Lee, whose emphasis lies in art history, will concentrate on artists of the 1980s.

“I have enjoyed the diversity of ULV’s Art Department, with the ability to experience everything from painting to photography,” said Lee.

A sample of a site-specific sculpture for the University’s Chapel lawn will be presented by Keane.

“My sculpture is a bridge of knowledge from the past, and present, to the future. The past is the religious aspect, which is what the college was founded on, the present is now and the future is the abstract,” said Keane.

After graduating Keane, who is originally from Manchester, England, wants to open up a private art school, where women will be able to explore their artistic talents.

With a dual concentration in photography and studio art, Golden’s senior project will consist of an “installation piece involving ideas of dreams and realities just beyond reach.”

Also with a studio concentration, Ishikawa will display an oil painting entitled “The Genocidal Bunny.”

As their senior adviser, Stone helps the group coordinate, write their thesis papers, put the show announcements together and keep them aware of deadlines.

Said Stone, “On an individual basis, my job as an instructor and artist is to pull out significant, creative imageries of thoughts and push them toward a professional way of approaching work. I do this in an amiable way, although I am fairly demanding about standards.”

Golden feels that Stone has been a great mentor. “It helps a lot that Ruth [Trotter] and George work in the field. They can give more insight and direction. They know what to expect,” she said.

As for the group’s Senior Art Thesis Exhibition, Stone said, “I have faith in the group. We have worked very closely over the semester. It is going to be terrific. It is a challenge every year because everyone thinks differently.”

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