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BA, BFA and MFA candidates display works in UNH Museum of Art

Oil and acrylic paintings, along with drawings, sculptures and more are on exhibit at the Paul Creative Arts Center’s annual Art Thesis Exhibition, open to viewing until May. Seven art students presented their work for the BA and BFA programs while two others presented for the MFA Thesis Exhibition. The subject this year was wide ranging from oil paintings about personal hobbies to paintings focused on the power of feminism. The artists brought unique and distinctive themes to each of their individual works.

Jillian Swist, a senior art student, loves working with oil paintings. This year she brought to life her own experiences through the medium of oil painting. Two specific paintings of hers were from memories, but throughout she had turned them from documentations to moodier and more thematic paintings. The works are from her home on the beach and hiking in the White Mountains.

“The physicality of actually painting is this really nice, simultaneously, really energetic and calming thing for me to do. I love to be outside. And I’m taking that appreciation of nature and things around and rendering the details with paint,” Swist said.

From her childhood on, Emily Weber has always had a preoccupation with drawing. More specifically, she’s always enjoyed drawing women, so this year she chose to devote most of her work to feminist depictions of women in history and reinterpreting “Judith Slaying Holofernes.”

“A huge inspiration of this body of work is that I am a feminist. I’ve done a ton of women’s studies classes and I’m inspired by powerful women. A lot of these stories of women, I came into contact with in my classes or in art history. My whole thesis is about presenting women in a powerful and authoritative way devoid of men and their influence on women’s lives,” Weber said.

Touch, hearing, smell or sight; Kelsey Fleet captured these senses in her box sculpture. Working off her sculptures from last semester, Fleet incorporated smells from her childhood, her favorite colors and squeaking noises from her Timberland work boots that she wears all time. She describes her work as form over function, as not everything in her sculpture has a purpose or meaning; it’s just a part of her artistic style.

“My favorite part about this (sculpture) is that I get to watch a whole pile of different people who are very diverse in their backgrounds or age. And the way they experience it is very different from each other. Kids especially enjoy it. That’s how I want it to be. A lot of people think, ‘Oh I can’t do art. I can’t be creative,’ but we as human beings, we are creative,” Fleet said.

The wide variety of personalities encompassed by works displayed at the Art Thesis Exhibition speaks to campus diversity and students’ abilities to experience human creativity.  According to Fleet, we are creative beings, and we don’t have to be artists to experience that creativity.

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