09:23 AM

Fine Arts students' work featured in exhibition

A pale ceramic plate decorated with twining flowers and vines
Art and design student Stephanie Torres said her art was inspired by things that made her happy, and that she added intricate details to her ceramic floral pieces.

For an up-and-coming artist, preparing, hanging and installing artwork in a gallery is an invaluable experience. At University of Houston-Clear Lake, 32 undergraduate art students will be doing just that at the Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition April 8-30 in the Art Gallery.

Beyond hanging and installing their work in the Art Gallery, students also experience presenting their work, ideas and concepts to the community, said Assistant Professor of Art and Design Clay Leonard. "This is a great professional development opportunity for students, and the hope is that it will prepare them for future careers in the arts, and many more exhibitions of their work," he said.

Leonard said the process for entry in this exhibition simulated the experience of applying to a professional gallery or exhibition. "Throughout the process, students work with their chosen faculty mentors, who serve as a resource to students as they finalize their work," he said. "For the BFA Exhibition, students are required to submit an artist's statement, resume, and five images of their current body of work."

The information, continued Leonard, was juried by the UHCL Art and Design faculty, who then mentored and assisted students as they prepared for their work in the exhibition.

"The goal is for the Arts and Design faculty to keep mentoring their students and teaching them how to properly prepare for an exhibition, while refining their ideas, concepts and body of work," he said.

Stephanie Torres, who will be completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design with Studio Concentration in May, said she was excited that all five of her submissions to the exhibition were accepted.

Torres said her pieces, which are paintings and ceramics, were inspired by the things that made her happy.

"My mom is one of those inspirations, and one thing that makes her happy is gardening, which is why I have flowers in some of my works," she said. "I love the representation of flowers. They bloom everywhere. Even in an ugly place, they're there and they're beautiful."

She added that she hoped visitors would see her time and attention to each small detail reflected in her work. "My floral vases are my 'must-see' pieces in this exhibition," she said. "When you look at them, you'll see them as a whole. But I made each petal on each of the flowers with its own unique mark. They all have the imprint of the crease in my hand to represent the veins flowers have naturally."

Torres said she never imagined having an opportunity to exhibit her work. "It seems unreal," she said. "At UHCL, I have had experiences I've never had before. I feel empowered and knowledgeable, and I've had so many interactions with my professors that have helped me grow as an artists and as a person. This has been the most positive experience I've ever had, and I think it's made me who I'm supposed to be."

"Once the exhibition is installed, the Art and Design faculty will meet in the gallery to see the final display of works and select awards, including Best in Show, to honor standout pieces and artists," Leonard said.

For more information about UHCL's Art Gallery, go online.