‘Cocktail’ exhibit showcases graduating artists’ work

Friday, October 25, 2013

Three graduating art students will exhibit their work in a fall senior BFA show titled Cocktail.

An opening reception is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 in the 3rd Floor Art Gallery in Davis Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The three artists participating in the show are Brad Burris, Kerye Hartzell and Katie Jones.

Burris is a resident of Mustang who transferred to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma after earning an associates’ degree in visual arts from Oklahoma City Community College.

He credits an interest in graphic, and, more specifically, album art design for his decision to pursue a career as an artist.

Upon arriving at USAO, Burris developed a passion of photography under the tutelage of Steve Brown, professor of art.

Burris’ contribution to the show is a collection of stark photographs of derelict homes in Chickasha, many of which have since been torn down.

“Every day on my way to school, I would see these old houses that reminded me of iconic houses from horror films, like Amityville or the Myers house from Halloween,” Burris said. “They each had a unique look but they are in this derelict, decaying state.”

“I started seeing the red signs on the doors and I thought, ‘I don’t know if these houses are going to be around much longer.’”

Burris used a technique called high-dynamic-range (HDR) imaging to produce the images. The process involves taking several shots of the same image at different exposures and manipulating light levels in each layer before flattening them down into a single image.

“You get a broad range of different light values, which makes things really pop,” Burris said. “Depending on how you work it, look really otherworldly and ominous.”

Burris is interning with Ackerman McQueen, an advertising agency based out of Oklahoma City, and plans to pursue a career in advertising upon graduation. He also hopes to cultivate contacts in the music industry to design album covers for regional acts.

Hartzell graduated from Moore High School in 2007 and then spent nearly three years in Germany when her father was stationed overseas. After taking four semesters of distance learning classes through the University of Maryland University College, Hartzell learned about USAO from a friend and, after visiting the campus, felt like she’d found a new home.

An active beader since childhood, Hartzell chose jewelry as her focus after a class with Jacquelyn Knapp, associate professor of art and coordinator of the art department at USAO.

“I am really attracted to organic forms,” Hartzell said. “I had been drawing flowers and ocean life since I was young and so when I was introduced to some of the more advanced techniques of jewelry making, like fold forming, I knew I had found a way to combine my natural interests.”

Hartzell’s work in the show demonstrates this aptitude for expressing natural forms through jewelry, mimicking leaves and flowers in her elegant necklaces.

After graduation, Hartzell is moving to Houston to be with her husband and hopes to find a job in the art world while she continues to make jewelry on commission.

Jones is a Norman resident who wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in college until she took her first art class during her senior year.

“I have always wanted to work for a magazine but it took some time to realize that the writing part just wasn’t for me,” Jones said.

Jones’ aspiration to be a graphic designer solidified during a printmaking class she took with Brown.

“Printmaking helped me find my own personality through design,” Jones said. “You are working with more iconic visual materials so you can’t really get too detailed with it when you are just starting out with printmaking. You have to block the colors into bigger fields.”

Jones’ work in the Cocktail show reflects both her interest in design and her Oklahoma values.

“I was born and raised here and I’m proud of where I’ve come from,” Jones said. “I’ve always liked bright colors and the iconic images of Oklahoma culture so I found a way to combine them.”

Jones’ works in the show began as photographs, which she then manipulated in Illustrator, a graphics editing program popular with graphic designers.

“I take the images into Illustrator and flatten and group the colors to remove some of the detail,” Jones said.

“I’ll cut the background out, change the colors. The time invested into the piece really depends on the image. Some are easier than others. You have to play with the colors. See which colors really work together and which are not right at all.”

Jones is seeking work in magazines and, like Burris, is also interested in album design.

The Cocktail show will remain up for viewing in the Third Floor gallery in Davis Hall through Nov. 22.