Senior art exhibits explore domesticity, religion


Kay Shackelford’s ‘honey, i’m home’ exhbiot on display in the Clara M. Eagle Gallery as a part of the senior practicum and BFA exhibitions on display. (Abbie Michalek/The News)

Raleigh Hightower, Lifestyle Editor

For many students in the Department of Art and Design, their educational careers at Murray State lead up to the moment they display their final Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition in the Clara M. Eagle Gallery.

This semester’s series of senior practicum exhibitions included work from eight students pursuing their BFA, and seven students pursuing either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science within the Department of Art and Design.

The opening reception for the senior exhibitions was held on Friday, April 14. At the reception event, students were given a chance to give statements about their artwork and the pieces featured in their exhibits.

The first exhibit visitors will see when entering the gallery from the Mary Ed Mecoy Hall Gallery entrance is senior graphic design major Abby Kyle’s “Olive Branch.” In Kyle’s exhibit, she explores the creative process and design behind creating a clothing brand.

Within the exhibit are several photos of models wearing the “Olive Branch” T-shirt designs, isolated copies of T-shirt designs hung on one wall, several actual T-shirts and the “Olive Branch” brand logo.

According to Kyle’s artist statement, her designs have ties to Biblical themes.

“My aim with the apparel I’m designing is to spark conversation and reflection rather than explicitly state any specific ideas or values the wearer might hold,” Kyle wrote. “Not everyone will interpret each of my designs to have ties to Biblical themes, but I hope the viewer wonders about the importance of the words and the nature imagery.”

The exhibits featured on the main floor of the Eagle Gallery include “Finding Solace” by senior studio art major Cassie Melcher; “Artistico” by senior graphic design major Alma Garcia; “Corporeal Forms” by senior studio art major Ella Curran; “honey, i’m home” by senior studio art major Kay Shackelford; “Clamor of a Catalyst” by senior studio art major Gretchen Ruth; and “Cosmic Displacement” by senior graphic design major Meg Slatton.

“honey, i’m home” by Shackelford explores the phenomenon, emotions and circumstances that complicate the surface appearance of objects, specifically domestic objects.

The exhibit is dominated by a large kitchen table in its center, surrounded by oil paintings of common domestic items and scenes. The scenes in these paintings include the ironing of clothes, removing a stain from a tie, washing dishes and the cleaning of an oven.

“My work utilizes motifs such as irons, laundry baskets and kitchenware that are attached to traditional gender roles, examining the tension that these items emit and at the forefront, how I have internalized it,” Shackelford wrote in her artist statement. “This deeply contrasts my love for the domestic and its ability to foster moments of intimate care and bonding.”

“Cosmic Displacement” by Slatton explores the themes of ethnicity, race, sexuality and self acceptance through comic art containing imagery of space, aliens and “otherworldly” objects.

One of the works featured in the exhibit, “Interposed & Orbiting,” is a collection of sci-fi graphic novels that center around aliens, which Slatton says is a metaphor for her own Mexican identity.

“Using aliens and outer space as metaphors allows me to create a more digestible story for my audience, while also allowing me to depict my experiences in a more comical way,” Slatton wrote in her artist statement. “I love that my multicultural experience will be more easily understood by a wider audience, but it’s frustrating to feel the need to simplify my experiences.”

The upper floor of the Eagle Gallery is housing the BA/BS practicum exhibit alongside senior graphic design major Jesus Gallegos Moreno’s BFA exhibit, “Vulture Pictures.”

Contributors to the BA/BS practicum exhibition include senior studio art majors Rebecca Curtis, Mahaila Rickman, Skyler Pointer, Molly Ramsey, Winter Smith, Olivia Swaidner and Miranda Tynes.

Anyone interested in viewing all the senior exhibitions can visit the Clara M. Eagle Gallery on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibits will be in the gallery until May 4th.