USAO Students’ Final Exhibition Closes with End of Year Celebration
Five art students from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma have celebrated everything they have learned throughout their college career in their final exhibition, “Amalgamation.” A closing reception will be held in conjunction with Shakespeare Winery Dec. 31 from 6–9 p.m. at the university’s Art Wrecker Studio in downtown Chickasha. Attendees are also invited to ring in the new year at Shakespeare Winery after the reception ends at Art Wrecker.
The fall 2022 candidates for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree include Lacey Dutton of Guthrie; Jose Flores of Pauls Valley; Zachary Frost of Rockwall, Texas, Emmo Maddox of Chickasha; and Alyssa Unsell of Choctaw.
“Our BFA program is among the most rigorous at USAO,” said Jaquelyn Knapp, professor of art and department coordinator. “The artists in ‘Amalgamation’ have worked diligently, producing work of truly exceptional quality that serves as evidence of their individual creative abilities. Each has successfully investigated thought-provoking ideas through a diverse range of media. Seeing these soon-to-be graduates producing at such a high level makes the entire art department confident that each will see success as they enter the world of working artists.”
Dutton came to USAO with the goal of becoming an animator, but the university’s interdisciplinary model led her to also minor in psychology and biology. She plans to pursue a career that intertwines both science and art to educate others, specifically in regards to the natural world. Her works embrace feminine beauty and celebrate humanity’s connection to nature. Known as a symbol of good luck, Dutton’s pieces in the exhibition feature goldfish “in every piece to symbolize the foreshadowing optimism of every stage.”
Born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Flores moved to Pauls Valley in 2013, graduating from high school there in 2017. A first-generation college student, Flores uses art to “produce tangible empathy, addressing events and feelings that there are no words for.” His performative pieces and wearable sculptures are meant to act as icons that build characters able to navigate the complicated nature of reality. They “possess a [sense of] foreboding and grit, yet also provide the tools for shining a light through the chaos, breaking down reality.”
Frost’s expanded media pieces use humility as a guiding force to peer through the facades that people put up in society and “embrace our faults, struggles and use that vulnerability to build strength.” Consisting of kinetic sculptures, installations and video performances, Frost shows integrity through fragility and believes his work can help the audience “benefit from the weakness and strength of failure.” Frost plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree after graduation.
Born in Chickasha but having spent most of her life moving around the country, Maddox has dabbled in everything from athletics to theater to factory work before landing in the world of fine arts. Originally focused on painting, USAO’ expanded media program led her to dive headfirst into installation and performance art. Her works play with the pliability of the rules surrounding not only the fine art world, but everyday life, and consist of “performative pieces and multimedia installations disguised as soft, garish forms, driving attention towards a comforting—yet odd—experience.”
Growing up with a wild imagination, Unsell took any scrap of paper or other flat surface as a medium to unleash her restless creativity. This spirit lives in her current work, with “vivd lights and saturated colors spilling into her everyday life.” She uses these colors to showcase the human body as “a celestial, ethereal creature,” and her works “highlight the interaction between the individual and the prismatic world of light and color.”
USAO holds a BFA exhibition each semester as the capstone project for that degree. Students apply to the program during the second semester of their second year as an art major. Upon acceptance, they develop a single concentration after gaining a wide foundation in all forms of artistic media. For three semesters, students develop cohesive concepts through in-depth research while continuing to add to their technical expertise. The final exhibition formally presents the results of their intense study and research into their chosen form.