News Bureau | ILLINOIS
The School of Art and Design Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition will present the work of students in art history, art education, graphic design, industrial design, new media, painting, photography, sculpture and studio art. In addition to the work at KAM, students earning Bachelor of Arts degrees in studio arts will have their work on view in the Bloc Gallery in the School of Art and Design.
The exhibition opens May 7, with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m., and runs through May 15.
Industrial design student Kathleen Culligan has a large family, and she loves cooking. She’s created shared cookbooks with family and friends, and her senior capstone project is an app called Clove, which she described as similar to a digital cookbook. The app is a way to digitally preserve traditions and cultures by allowing users to scan in recipes – providing longevity to old handwritten recipes – and to share them on social media, along with photos and comments, she said.
“It bridges the gap between intergenerational cooking and recipe sharing,” Culligan said.
In the interdisciplinary industrial design program, her focus is on digital user experience, working with new technology and the human-centered design process – “talking to the user, knowing what the needs are and the challenge to create a fun new design around that. I like the problem-solving of it all. It’s really great to find a solution and see it implemented,” she said.
For his senior design studio project, industrial design student Ronald Gonzales designed a behind-the-ear hearing aid that is accessible for older adults. His design includes a handheld remote for changing the volume and other settings on the hearing aid without having to reach up and adjust it behind the ear. The remote also allows people who are uncomfortable with others knowing they use a hearing aid to be discreet in changing its settings, he said. Larger buttons on the hearing aid make it easy for users to adjust the device itself.
Gonzales said his research informed him about the socio-emotional effects of hearing loss, and he wanted to address the common issues people had with hearing aids so they would be more likely to wear them. He designed prototypes to find a shape that was comfortable as well as attractive, using colors that blend with different skin tones to make the hearing aid less noticeable.
Graphic design student Ashley Jung’s family is originally from South Korea. While growing up in Canada, Jung said she often translated product labels on grocery store shelves for her mother. That experience led to her interest in exploring graphic design as a universal language to make it easy to identify a product, even if one doesn’t understand the writing on a label.
Jung designed a project connected to her culture – packaging and branding for a traditional Korean tea line that highlights the craftsmanship and art of tea making.
“Tea is part of a lot of medicinal and herbal practices in East Asian culture,” Jung said. “If I was sick or if I was tired, my mom would always make tea for me. It’s inspired by a sense of nostalgia.”
The tea bottle labels, tea box, information card and website design for her tea brand use bright colors and a traditional pattern found in Korean temples and palaces. Jung created labels for plum, ginseng and barley teas, which she said are common in South Korea.
“I’ve been able to develop a deeper appreciation for my culture,” she said.
Painting student Rachael Menke said she likes the physicality of making large-scale paintings. She is interested in portraying people who are not historically represented in paintings. She has six large-scale portraits in the exhibition, depicting local members of the queer community in the style of old master portraits of the elite class.
Menke said her portraits include objects surrounding the subjects in their homes. The paintings also have elements of collage – Menke attached objects to some of the paintings, including a bandanna and jewelry. In addition to oil paint, she used tattoo ink because tattoos are significant in the queer community.
Menke said she considers her portraits to be a collaborative process and a way to emphasize that her subjects are not afraid to be themselves and that there is more to them than the moment she has painted. She takes up the entire canvas with each portrait, with the subjects’ heads reaching the top of the canvas and their feet at the very bottom.
Brendan O’Shaughnessy is graduating with degrees in sculpture and in natural resources and environmental sciences, and his art reflects his interest in ecology.
O’Shaughnessy gravitated toward sculpture and fiber art because he finds it visually interesting, particularly its textures. He said his large, colorful soft sculptures reflect the ecology of organisms such as bacteria and coral.
His work in the exhibition is a large, two-person sculptural garment, made with pompoms and quilting and inspired by a scientific article he read about how intimate partners share similar microbiomes. He said he cultured bacterial swabs of himself and his partner and used the colors and patterns they formed in his sculpture.
“I’m really excited about this piece because I was able to take a bit of scientific knowledge and turn that into a piece of art. Scientific articles in journals can be inaccessible and somewhat sterile. The way they are communicated can exclude a lot of people. I’m using sculpture as a medium to enhance scientific communication,” O’Shaughnessy said.
A second piece he has in the exhibition is a mix of soft sculpture, latch hook and beading, inspired by the growth of mold.