Graduating BFA students showcase work in end-of-semester exhibition

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Among those who believe in the mission of the Boise State Arts Department are the students pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Nearing the end of the semester, this degree is close enough to take a hold of; therefore, this month the students put together a gallery of their works in the Visual Arts Gallery. The Art Department is one of the many features of Boise State that draws students in; the most talked-about advancement being a brand new fine arts building in the works on campus. According to the Department of Art mission statement, the school vows to provide “diverse ideological positions, visual arts disciplines, teacher preparation and degree programs,” a “liberal arts core and elective courses for all BSU students,” and a “variety of local, regional, national and international visual art exhibitions and visiting artists and scholars.”

Students who do not typically visit the liberal arts building may be left unaware of the art exhibit located at it’s heart. While walking through campus, headed to classes or dorms in the cold weather, students may find themselves inside the building for some much needed shelter, finding there an art exhibit that “presents a variety of regional, national and international visual art exhibitions in two campus galleries,” says the Visual Arts Center website. The current work in the BFA exhibit may be particularly intriguing to Boise State students as it currently exhibits art from “senior-standing Boise State bachelor of fine arts-visual art candidates, each displaying a body of work for exhibition. Utilizing a variety of media, artists explore multiple vantage points of the human condition and how one relates to the world around them.”

Photo by Axel Quartarone.

In an email regarding this fall’s exhibition, Kirsten Furlong, the gallery director, said, “The exhibition is the culminating activity for the students enrolled in the BFA Visual Art, BFA Illustration and BFA Art Education. Their final semester, they are enrolled in ART 490 BFA Exhibition and do all of the organization, planning, marketing, curating, etc. for the exhibition while also learning about the functions and best practices of art galleries.”

Unlike most majors at the university, the students are given the opportunity to create their own gallery in the way they most want their artwork to be displayed. With an entire semester to plan, students are dedicated to doing their best work as a final senior project, one that they believe has the potential to have an impact on any person who steps inside.

“The exhibition, to me, is the accumulation of all that I learned here at Boise State. It’s the true test to see if you have what it takes to make art worthy of juried shows, and it was an absolutely fantastic way to end the semester,” said Shayla Putnam of her experience with this semester’s exhibit.

“The show wouldn’t have been a success if it wasn’t for all the great faculty we have in the Art Department, (as well as) the Visual Arts Center director’s dedication.”

Furlong says that the exhibition is an important way for the students to share their research in a professional gallery setting and since the gallery is free and open to all, it’s a great way to present that work to a broad audience of viewers.

The art in the gallery is created by students from different backgrounds and styles, including a piece by Jordan Rosengrant, titled “We Are Watching You,” composed entirely of video cameras and photos of recording devices around campus.

In Rosengrant’s statement, questions such as “Do we know who is watching us?” and “Do we care?” are asked as a way to intrigue the viewer of the “unknown knowledge” that is surveillance technology.

On a more traditional level of visual art, Putnam creates a series of five pieces of art, each with an individual story; these pieces are titled, in working order, “Diseased,” “If I’m the Devil, You’re the Reason,” “A Touch of Death,” “Abscessed” and “The Impending Embrace.” In Putnam’s artist statement, she writes, “Depression comes and goes, there are good days and there are bad days and I’m learning to live with that.”

Art for these students is a career-making hobby, and they are genuinely interested with showing their talent to both Boise State and the surrounding community. For those interested in viewing the gallery before its closure, the Fall 2017 BFA Exhibition is held in Visual Arts Gallery One, Liberal Arts 270, continuing through Tuesday, Dec. 5.


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