Passages, Furman Artists in Art Form

By Beth Fraser, Staff Writer
After four years of painting, sculpting, printmaking and picture taking, Furman’s senior art students finally had the opportunity to share their culminating projects with the campus community in their exhibition, “Passages.” The exhibition officially opened during Furman Engaged Tues. April 4. With all classes cancelled, many classroom buildings were desolate for Furman Engaged, but the Roe Art Building was filled to capacity, with hundreds of art lovers flocking to see the Furman seniors’ creations. The gallery opening was an elegant and enjoyable affair with wine, cheese and other hors d’oeuvres served to art connoisseurs in attendance.
As indicated by the exhibition’s title, “Passages” features works which illustrate the personal journeys of the senior class of art students during their time at Furman. Each piece was unique and showed the wide range of personalities and experiences of the 14 students over their four years at Furman. Although I did not personally know any of the students whose work is on display, each piece seemed to convey, with a shocking degree of clarity, the individuality of its artist. As visitors to the reception perused the works, many of the artists shared their creative processes.
One of my favorite displays was “Meraki” by artist Candler Reynolds. Reynolds’ display exhibited portraits of her female relatives who have had a large influence on her. She uses majolica (Italian tin-glazed pottery) ceramics to express the strength and communion of the women in her family. Reynolds crafted a beautiful painted table to symbolize the “bond born while participating in the formalities of life and womanhood” such as in cooking and drinking tea together. Reynold’s display also exhibits portraits of her female role models, giving viewers an intimate glimpse into the artist’s life. In ceramic plates arranged on the table, Reynolds offered gallery viewers stickers displaying symbols of each of her relatives, allowing her viewers to participate in her family’s fellowship.
Another intriguing work was Rowan Griscom’s “Landscapes in Type.” This series of acrylic paintings examined commonplace fonts such as Baskerville, Garamond and Goudy under an artistic lense. Griscom deconstructed and experimented with typography in order to “create work that celebrated the beautiful nuances of a ubiquitous art form.” I appreciated this display because it encouraged me to think about small, seemingly mundane creations as skilled artwork. Each piece in Griscom’s display played with a certain letter in a particular font and color scheme, creating an intriguing multi-dimensional art piece from just a single typographic letter.
While the displays were widely varied in both medium and subject, each piece exhibited a brilliant originality and artistic skill indicative of the artist’s exceptional Furman education as well as their inherent talent. I have often wished that I was a talented painter, but despite my artistic ineptitude, I was inspired by the works of the senior student gallery now on display in the Thompson gallery. Students interested in expanding their artistic sensibilities, exercising their cultural appreciation and supporting their artistically gifted peers will have the opportunity to view “Passages” in the Roe Art Building until May 4. The gallery is open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

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