Student artists explore worldly topics through their art in the fall BFA Exhibition

Photo courtesy of Hanalei Potempa

Boise State’s Blue Galleries, located in the Center for Visual Arts, hosted the semi-annual BFA Exhibition, highlighting the work of graduating art students.

The exhibit featured art in many forms such as photography, illustration, ceramics and painting. These student artists created art to approach topics such as mental health, women’s issues and the overall human experience.

Jessica DeLeon, a current senior double majoring in photography and criminal justice, presented her collection of digital photo prints titled “You Misunderstand Me.”

In her artist statement DeLeon writes, “‘You Misunderstand Me’ is an invitation to look beyond the silence and to acknowledge your own coping and to recognize that we aren’t all that alone.”

Her collection includes some serene shots of nature, candid images of friends and tangible objects.

The collection presents a personal insight into coping with mental health issues, and includes images of her aunt’s sobriety chips and keychains, and of her wife’s daily journal.

DeLeon shared details of the story behind the title of her work.

[Fall BFA Showcase exhibit.]
Photo courtesy of Hanalei Potempa

“The subjects that I spoke to had expressed that, you know, there’s people around them that are upset because of how they managed and coped with their mental health,” DeLeon said.

Allyn Dreher, a current senior majoring in drawing and painting, presented “Red,” a collage of photo paper, yarn and other found materials.

Deher shared that she went through “Playboy” magazines for inspiration, and decided to focus on the color red due to its traditional connection to women during that time period.

“Red was the first color that was introduced. I think probably because it’s the easiest to produce knowing the history of makeup and everything,” Deher said. “And so that’s why a lot of women during that time had red lipstick, red nail polish, just that tradition of red being connected to women.”

Dreher shared that she found most of the digital images featured on the piece from the “Playboy” archive and a few from another old women’s magazine called “Mademoiselle.”

Her collage features a crocheted blanket that she acquired second-hand, as well as hand-crocheted flowers surrounding the old magazine photos. 

“I think I just wanted to show my anger about everything… through using that red, and sort of disrupting this traditional way of making that women are known for like crocheting, and collaging, or scrapbooking, and stitching, and beadwork, I guess stuff like that,” Dreher said.

Dreher included elements of these activities: scrapbooking, crocheting, stitching, along with activities that are perceived as feminine.

“It was freeing to make,” Dreher said. “It was an exercise in exploring feelings that I’ve had that have been hard to discuss.”

Sativa Justice, a current senior majoring in drawing and painting, presented a stunning collection of paintings on silk titled “Attribution of Absences – Worldwide Femicide.”

“I always thought a woman being killed was an anomaly,” Justice said. “Then I read that over 80,000 women are killed every year … more than five women or girls are killed every hour, not every day, every hour.”

Justice decided to try painting on silk with paper underneath, and ended up loving the different results in the process. 

“I liked what happened on the paper under the silk better than what was on the silk. But the silk was really lovely too because you could see through it,” Justice said. “So it is a female presence, like ‘you’re here, but not here’ on these women that have died.”

Justice shared that she based each facial image on real women who died, each from a different country.

“I just wanted people to become more aware … so that these women will stop being killed, that there will become more social consciousness around it,” Justice said.

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