BFA Exhibit Showcases Art Senior Works at USAO

students holding pieces of art

CHICKASHA -- Emotive portraits, colorful paintings and striking photography are just a few of the original pieces on display March 29 through April 18 in the USAO Art Gallery. Four bachelor of fine arts seniors join ten recent graduates for the large exhibition.

A free opening reception with snacks and live music is scheduled March 29 at 4 p.m. in the gallery in Davis Hall at the University of Science and Arts.

Lindsey Finch, a photography senior from Bray, takes a fashionable approach when shooting subjects.

" I selected a series of photographs of women," she said. " In this series, I chose to study how women, placed in a contrived environment, adapt, find and express a sense of their identity."

Style and beauty are common themes in Finch's photography.

" My work aspires to offer an alternate perspective and challenge the viewers' preconceived visual images of beauty and identity," she said.

A multiple recipient of the Dorothy Tulloss Scholarship and the William Jurth Scholarship, Finch plans to attend graduate school and gain a master's degree in photography in hopes of exploring the medium more in depth as a fine art.

The illustration of beauty continues in the paintings of Chris Castor, a senior from Woodward.

" My art communicates the way through which I see the world and it displays a few areas of life that I find particularly beautiful," Castor said. " Humor, joy, family, friend, and personal convictions are all concepts seen in my artwork. These concepts are represented by realistic, or semi-realistic, portrayal of people, places and things."

Castor's portraits offer unique perspectives and emotional representations of his subjects.

Currently an ordained minister, youth minister and music director at First Missionary Baptist Church in Pocasset, Castor said his plans are to stick to music and art.

" I plan to continue working at the church and painting on the side for now," he said. " I also continue in my love for music by writing and playing music with some of my friends from USAO in our band called The Split. I may go back to college for my master's in art sometime in the near future."

Chelsea McClanahan, a senior from Oklahoma City, said she enjoys experimenting with art.

" While I am currently focusing on painting, I enjoy working in many different mediums, and am always looking for new things to try out," McClanahan said. " I enjoy watercolor for its ability to show quick, clean strokes and bright, vibrant colors."

Her paintings of people, animals and environments capture moments reminiscent of still-life images.

" My art depicts the varying relationships between a figure and its environment," she said. " From replete interaction to complete detachment and many variances in between, we can observe how figures relate to their surroundings."

During her schooling at USAO, McClanahan has won multiple awards for student art exhibits, as well as the annual Montmartre Chalk Art Festival. A three-year member of the USAO Art Club, her works are in private collections throughout Oklahoma and other nearby states. Last year, she illustrated a children's book entitled, " A Big Halloween Surprise," written by Alyson J. Pearl and published by Tate Publishing.

" After graduation," she said, " I'm going to take some time off to work, but I plan to earn my MFA in the next two years. I also plan to spend time traveling and painting with friends in Europe."

Art is all fun and games for Bonnie Amspacher, a senior from Norman.

" Drawing and painting is like a game for me," Amspacher said. " When I work on art, it is really playing."

Colorful surreal imagery fills her canvases, where strange birds, fish and animals interact in her swirling, active paintings. Otherworldly creatures swim about in dreamlike motion.

Amspacher said her plans include returning to Norman and furthering her education.

" I plan to continue developing my career as an artist by teaching children's arts classes, applying for graduate school and promoting my art work," she said. " I am excited about being a part of Norman's community and actively working for social and environmental betterment. I am proud to be an Oklahoman and wish to positively contribute locally with my professional and personal life."

The four spring 2008 BFA students are joined by ten previous art graduates.

Summer 2007 graduates Jessica Irvin, LJ Stephens, Sabrina Myrick, Jewlia Wells, Priscilla Harris, Tommy Ball, Amanda Bailey and Amy Simer, as well as fall 2007 graduates Courtney Kegans and Amy Widener are displaying original artwork as well.

The opening reception is free and open to the public. Live music will be provided by local singer/songwriter Michael Bendure.

The USAO Art Gallery is located in Davis Hall on 17th Street in Chickasha and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is free and open to the public.

More information about the gallery is available online at

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