Quirky exhibit showcases graduating artists
Every artist has experiences and ways of looking at the world that makes his or her contribution a little bit different. These differences are celebrated in a show titled Quirks that highlights the work of five graduating artists and two recent graduates at the University of Science and Arts.
An artists’ reception for the show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on April 6 in the Nesbitt Gallery. The show will be available for public viewing from April 1 through the 19th.
The event is free, open to the public and refreshments will be served.
The Nesbitt Gallery is located on the first floor of Davis Hall and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The featured artists are Megan Check, Sarah Job, Jordan Kistler, Kari Kuzinar and Taylor Preston.
Check is a native of Wilson who specializes in photography. She came to USAO with an intention to study graphic design. After buying a camera for class, she developed a passion in macro photography, capturing very small subjects at extremely close range.
“I got bored quickly with taking pictures of ducks and landscapes for class assignments,” Check says. “After I took my first macro photo, I felt like I had uncovered something more personal about my work and that’s been my focus since.”
Check was encouraged to follow this path by Steve Brown, professor of art, who oversees the graphic design and photography students.
She plans to continue this aspect of her personal work, with hopes of building up a clientele of magazines, while exploring other employment options such as photographing weddings.
Sarah Job comes from a military family and was homeschooled in the Norman area. She originally attended Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), studying business, but eventually came to USAO based on family ties to the area.
“My grandparents lived in Amber and my mother attended USAO. Once I decided to study art, I knew that this was the place for me,” Job says.
Job has been sketching since childhood but had to overcome medical problems in order to fulfill her dreams of being an artist.
“I’m legally blind in one eye due to problems that developed with my retina,” Job says.
“I’ve embraced it as part of who I am now and my art website is called Blind Eye Artist.”
Though she loves drawing, Job’s work for the show is primarily watercolor paintings with an eye towards elegance and an emphasis on fantastic themes.
She cites the work of art nouveau artists like Alphonse Mucha as well as her sister, fellow USAO student and artist, Jessica Hartzell as sources for her inspiration.
Job plans to attend and enter her work into art shows with aspirations for gallery showings of her own.
Jordan Kistler is a 2008 graduate of Lamont High School. He earned his associates degree in art from Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) in Tonkawa.
Kistler began his studies at NOC with an emphasis in pre-engineering but found himself drawn to the art program there over time.
Though he has worked in a number of media and styles, Kistler feels like his greatest strength is as an illustrator.
His pieces in the show are selections from an illustrated children’s book he is working on titled Clockwork Moon.
Kistler hopes to move into professional illustration upon graduation, focused specifically on children’s book.
Kari Kuzinar is a native of Oklahoma City and graduated from OCCC in 2006 with an associate’s degree in art.
“I interviewed with the faculty at USAO,” Kuzinar says, “and discovered so many good reasons to continue my studies here.”
“The school was affordable, close to home and could offer me the kind of personal attention I wanted to continue to develop my personal style.”
Studying under Brown, Kuzinar combined two passions, illustration and graphic design, to develop unique work based on Mexican sugar skulls.
Sugar skulls, or calaveras de azúcar, are associated with the Mexican holiday of Dia de Muertos that celebrates the life and memory of loved ones, absent and present.
Kuzinar combines illustrations and design to create singular portraits that capture the essence of her subjects.
After graduation, she plans to seek work in corporate design.
Taylor Preston is a photographer who specializes in portraiture.
A native of Harrah, Preston discovered USAO based on the recommendation of a friend who was planning to attend.
She discovered her interest in photography after her high school art teacher, Brian Miller, offered a class in it.
Preston attributes her interest in portraiture to her love of working with people.
“There is an emotional component to working with people that I love to capture in my work,” Preston says.
“I used to be very shy but, in developing my craft as a photographer, I’ve overcome that. I love the process of shooting until I’ve gotten to the essence of my subject or the relationship between the subjects in the work.”
Though her work in the show focuses on relationships, Preston also draws inspiration from landscapes and cites Ansel Adams as a major influence on her work.
After graduation, Preston hopes to open her own portrait studio.
In addition to the graduating students, Wendy Chambers and Lucia Martinez, who teamed up for a senior BFA show last fall, will have work displayed as well.
The Nesbitt Gallery will provide cash awards to graduating bachelor of fine arts (BFA) students.
The Bachelor of Fine Arts Award of Merit is presented to the BFA student or students deemed by the USAO art faculty as having excelled overall as an artist in the areas of professionalism, quality of work and conceptual development.
The award is offered annually.
The Nesbitt Gallery will offer a People’s Choice Award that will be decided by visitor ballots and announced at 11 a.m. on April 16 in the main gallery.
More information about the show can be obtained by calling 574-1374.