Blue Galleries: The stories behind the featured art

Blue Galleries
Photo by Claire Keener

In Emma Obendorf’s submission for the 2022 Annual Student Juried Exhibitions, she wanted to do something different from her typically representational artwork. She’s an illustration and drawing and painting BFA student, but used newspaper, paper and charcoal to create a more abstract piece to consider memory and the recent loss of her grandfather.

Blue Galleries
[“Memory of Life” by Emma Obendorf.]
Photo by Claire Keener

“It was just kind of one big conceptual piece based on how I was looking at family memories and just overall my time with my family and my grandfather,” Obendorf said.

Obendorf’s work is just one of the winning submissions for the 2022 Annual Student Juried Exhibitions currently on display at Blue Galleries. Featured pieces are on display at the Center of Visual Arts until March 30. 

A few of the featured artists shared the details about the creative process of making their pieces and the meanings behind them.

Obendorf revealed that this piece, titled “Memory of Life,” was a stepping stone for her in trying something new. Not only was it more conceptual than her typical work, but it also delved into her ideas on the concept of memory, through the lens of her grandfather.

The newspaper Obendorf used for her piece is local, and she specifically emphasized her inclusion of the obituary page of the newspaper in her piece. She wanted to look at memory in different forms and at different stages of life. 

“The folding and the mark making from the major fold of the pieces of the newspaper and what’s left behind is a very representational way for me to look at memory. I think that memories often come from core memories that then leave marks as time goes on,” Obendorf said.

[“Molars” by Julie Hetherington]
Photo by Claire Keener

Julie Hetherington is a current freshman majoring in visual arts with an emphasis in painting and drawing. She is featured in the exhibit for her piece titled “Molars,” created using graphite and paint on canvas and paper.

Hetherington shared that she wanted to explore the use of paper folding when she started this project. The process of making her piece was very time-consuming, though she never had a set plan for the final result. 

“I started with the idea of a map and wanted to unfold it and keep unfolding it again and again and let myself explore that. I didn’t have a set plan,” Hetherington said. 

Later, she started incorporating fabric as well.

The name “Molars” reveals a deeper meaning represented in the piece.

“You don’t really see people’s teeth close up, not like their molars, so it kind of sets the same feeling that you don’t show people certain parts of you that are kept inside,” Hetherington said.

“Molars” illustrates a juxtaposition of oneself. It represents what of yourself you present to others as well as what you do not show and keep inside, all in one presentation.

Annika Kalac, a current senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in interdisciplinary art, is featured in the exhibit for a self-portrait created using the process of etching. 

[Self-portrait by Annika Kalac]
Photo by Claire Keener

Kalac shared that this was her first etching and that it was a very long, tedious process.

The process begins by drawing on the surface of a copper plate, which is then put into a fluoride acid, which carves the drawing into the plate. Next, ink is applied to the plate, and it is layered with paper, which is then put through a printing process.

Kalac shared that her piece is a bit more complex than a traditional self-portrait due to the multiple exposures it displays, capturing the same image at multiple points in time. 

“The unique thing about this piece is it’s kind of a continuous narration, which means that you’re kind of seeing the figure in multiple moments in time,” Kalac said. “The piece relates a lot to self transformation, the way that you grow and change and struggle with the things you leave behind in order to pursue a future that is right for you.”

Kalac illustrated this transition period in finding one’s self-identity which is often an uncomfortable, “in the middle” sort of feeling. This is why the portrait is more complex and even a bit unsettling.

The Blue Galleries is open from Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. It is free and open to the public. 
For more information on the exhibit, visit the Blue Galleries webpage on the Boise State website.

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