2014 Spring Storm takes over Lawrence Hall

For only three hours in May, two floors of a UO campus building will showcase creative explorations by dozens of emerging artists working in media ranging from ceramics to digital arts and more. The event is a rare peek inside what students in their senior year have accomplished, and it provides an opportunity for the public to interact with the artists—and in some cases, with the art itself. 

“I enjoy constructing interactive physical objects and spaces that adults and children can play with,” says Sean Hamling, whose animation project focuses on material exploration and imaginative perception. “As we age, we often lose touch with certain aspects of our creative selves. We often become less playful and more focused on career-related tasks. I hope my art will get people to assess and reflect on their own inner creative being as well as the ‘inner child’ depicted in the video.”

Spring Storm
Above: Visitors to last year’s inaugural Spring Storm gather in an exhibition space during the show. Photograph by Cody Rappaport.

Hamling is among 62 graduating senior art and digital arts students whose work will be exhibited in 2014 Spring Storm: Department of Art 2nd Annual Senior Show on Friday, May 30, from 5-8 p.m. at the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts in Lawrence Hall, 1190 Franklin Boulevard. A reception for the artists will also take place from 5-8 p.m. during the exhibition, which is free and open to the public.

Spring Storm will showcase work from all media areas within the Department of Art, including ceramics, digital arts, fibers, jewelry and metalsmithing, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. The annual event debuted only last year.

“Last year's exhibition was a great success and a wonderful party celebrating the accomplishments of our undergraduate majors,” says Laura Vandenburgh, head of the Department of Art. “People filled the first two floors of Lawrence Hall to see diverse work that reflects the unusual breadth of the UO Department of Art curriculum.”

The show will provide not only a glimpse of advanced student work but also insights into their creative processes, material choices, and theoretical approaches.

Sean Hamling

Above: Sean Hamling

While Hamling’s major is digital arts, for example, his art includes painting and—for Spring Storm—making by hand poseable dolls and a cut-away set for an animation project. “The physical construction I am incorporating in this piece involves cloth, aluminum, sculpting clay, paint, wood, paper, and plastic. I call upon knowledge of film, photography, editing, physical construction, digital drawing, laser cutting, painting, and animation. I hope to make an immersive and magical world where the viewer will be emerged in the characters’ internal struggle.”

Sculpture major Cruz Castillo has been exploring “adding to the visual culture that surrounds our everyday lives. I take everyday tools and objects and create a new narrative for them, taking away their utilitarian use [and] constructing a new experience [where] the viewer can interact with these everyday objects.” 

Castillo’s work stems from his ideas about technology and presence-absence. “As our society has become engulfed by technology, people are becoming more and more detached from reality, [and] our world becomes flat,” Castillo says. “I want to create art that urges people to pay attention to the world around them and help people to see the beauty this world has to offer, the poetics of simplicity.”

In her work, artist Rachel Grudzien “ritualistically and methodically compose[s] shrines for once-worthless objects to commemorate and enliven their transcendental personality.” Recent objects include a backpack fished out of the Willamette River, a shower curtain from a burned house, and “several variety bags of multicolored, synthetic hair curlers” which she is employing “to critique the embellished beauty conventions developed during the turn of the 20th century in Victorian textile and cosmetic industries.” Such objects, she says, form “the foundation for my works of art, as well as the root from which stems my ethos as an artist: that there exists an abundance of life in the material world that we as artists have potential to reveal the voice of, while developing a new dialogue around the resources through which we view life and art and locating where they harmonize.”

A digital arts major, Elijah Sprints’ still photography, for example, “builds upon the language of cinematic narrative storytelling. My work centers on the concepts of self-identity and individuality. This is established through the means of a character’s journey [using] 24 frames that will be a view into the life of a character. The character has a beginning, middle, and end and the 24 frames, captured one every hour, will show a ‘day in the life’ scenario in order to consider our understanding of identity.”

Sprints says “the most challenging aspect [was] to use the medium for what it is best for. Not presupposing that it conveys the same meaning as a moving image is pivotal. In its essence, the still photo tends to oppose that of the moving image, giving the viewer ample time to contemplate every inch of what they see. In my work I am attempting to find a balance between cinematic narrative and the photograph.”

A print-on-demand catalogue of work archiving the work of this year’s graduating class will also be available.

Following the three-hour event May 30, a juried selection of student works will be shown June 9-16 in the Best of 2014 Spring Storm exhibition in the LaVerne Krause Gallery in Lawrence Hall. This exhibition will feature works utilizing a diverse range of materials and processes that explore the innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary creative practice. The opening reception will take place Monday, June 9, from 5-7 p.m. in the gallery.

The Department of Art at UO offers more than 300 classes every year in eight media areas. Many courses in the department are open to students who are not art majors, although prerequisites may apply. Summer classes and workshops are available on the Summer in A&AA website.

poseable dolls
Above: While Hamling’s major is digital arts, his art includes painting and—for Spring Storm—making by hand poseable dolls and a cut-away set for an animation project.

Elijah Sprints
Above: A digital arts major, the still photography by Elijah Sprints (left) “builds upon the language of cinematic narrative storytelling. My work centers on the concepts of self-identity and individuality.”

Cruz Castillo
Above: “I want to create art that urges people to pay attention to the world around them and help people to see the beauty this world has to offer, the poetics of simplicity,” Cruz Castillo says of his art.

Rachel Grudzien
Above: Rachel Grudzien “ritualistically and methodically compose[s] shrines for once-worthless objects  to commemorate and enliven their transcendental personality.”

Spring Storm poster

May 8, 2014