Currently on display in the Lord Hall Gallery is the senior art exhibition “16 minds,” featuring the art of 16 University of Maine seniors. The works displayed incorporated a variety of media including a number of prints, paintings, sculptures, photography, digital works, mixed media and found objects.
Art made with printmaking techniques makes up a large number of the works on display. The printmaking styles showcased included woodblock, relief, silkscreen and intaglio prints, and the seniors’ work address a variety of subject matters. Some works appeared to focus inward, like Olivia Bradstreet’s complex and strange woodblock prints, while others displayed intricate handiwork and wonderful design, like Kendra Green’s large patterned prints. Other students, like Katelyn Jordan, used painting to capture everyday photo-like moments with lifelike detail. The body of work presented by the seniors showcases their wide variety of talents, interests, themes, concerns and skills.
One artist in the exhibition, Olivia Bradstreet provided some of her thoughts and described her experience as an art student here at UMaine. She has worked in several mediums but is currently focused on printmaking.
“My medium as of now is primarily woodblock relief printmaking. I also work with fiber, specifically needle felting and hand sewing to create 3D pieces. I really enjoy fiber as a medium and asking questions about the intersections of craft and fine art, which is something I was lucky enough to get to study at Haystack last summer. This year, I am continuing to build my print portfolio with larger relief prints, and I am completing my Honors creative thesis which is in the handmade paper medium,” Bradstreet said.
Bradstreet has several prints in the exhibition, including a number of intense and striking woodblock pieces that present abstract scenes in black or red.
“For my larger prints I wanted that immediate positive/negative space to read, and with black, you can more easily demonstrate working in both black line and white line,” said Bradstreet. “Black is an excellent color — it’s deep, and it can be dramatic, and it’s rich when done in oil. I always choose an oil ink because I want the inherent luminosity that is in the ink mixture, much like oil paints. Black, red and white paper is a striking pallet, and I chose it for my ‘Bite Me’ print collection because I wanted to reference those ‘thank you for shopping’ plastic bags as well as Barbara Kruger’s propaganda art. Although I primarily use those colors, I also will work with a full-color pallet. It’s all dependent on what the image needs, and thankfully we have a fully stocked print shop which can meet any color whim I have.”
As a senior, she was also able to shed some light on the experience of studying art in a university setting and some of the surprises that come with the environment.
“Something that surprised me is how even when working under a lot of pressure and seriousness there’s always still a sense of humor and play when it comes to the art-making process, and I’ve been really lucky to have been able to feel that while studying in this discipline,” Bradstreet said. “There can be real fear sometimes going into critique, but there are also lots of laughs. Being able to engage with professors and other students on that messy, human level has really helped my art and process.”
In addition to looking back at her undergraduate career, Bradstreet looks forward to post-grad life.
“When I graduate, I plan on taking at least a year and moving Southwest to immerse myself in the art culture there, all while developing my own work,” Bradstreet said. “After that time, I plan on applying to several MFA programs to continue my papermaking and printmaking studies.”
The work presented at the “16 Minds” exhibition presents a varied and thoughtful body of work by a class of students that will certainly continue to do interesting work in a cultural landscape that will benefit from their input.
The exhibit will run through Feb. 7 in Lord Hall Gallery on the UMaine Orono campus.