As students return to Ball State’s campus, art at the Ned and Gloria Griner Art Gallery in the new exhibit, “Beginnings,” showing art from 2021 freshman students in the School of Art, welcomes them.
Work from the exhibit is scheduled to be displayed from August 23-26 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and a reception, with refreshments, is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. August 24. The art was picked from last year's Drawing Studio (AFA 101), 2D Foundations Studio (ADS 101), 3D Foundations Studio (AFA 102) and 4D Foundations Studio (ADS 103 Time-Based Video-Intermedia Digital Process) classes.
Kenneth Preston, the gallery manager, designs the gallery, installs pieces and labels each piece that is on display. Each piece that is highlighted is from a foundational course.
A foundational course is from 2D design, 3D design, 4D design and drawing. Each instructor will differ on specific assignments, creating a diverse exhibit.
Students are just beginning their collegiate art journey when they arrive at Ball State. Professors are able to work with them while they enter their early college years.
“I enjoy it, they are an open book and a blank slate,” Chet Geiselman, the 3D studio manager, said. “A lot of times, and especially in 3D design, students have never worked with any 3D material, especially something like wood … they just do not have that in the curriculum in high school. There is a blank page often, [they are] fearful of the tools or the materials and our job is to make them comfortable and steer them in the right direction.”
Inspiration can vary from artist to artist, as finding what their style is can help make an artist unique.
“I really like to focus on memories and playfulness, I focus on my inner child so a lot of my pieces are colorful,” sophomore Kendal Roland said. “I have a wooden piece that is completely rainbow that I titled ‘Candyland,’ that is symbolic of it and what I did as a child.”
While most people think of art on canvas or paper, Geiselman works with different materials to create something new.
“Chet [Geiselman] is in an actual woodshop, so students who come in there must know how to use table saws, hand saws, sanders, and more,” Preston said. “What [he] does is he gets them used to working with these tools so, in the future, they will be more comfortable making new things.”
Ball State offers classes with woodworking and other materials, some of which may be new to freshmen.
“The biggest challenge is just learning because I have never worked with those mediums before, so it was nice to learn new skills through conceptual thinking through the 4D class and the 3D class,” Roland said. “Through the 3D class I was able to find a big passion for it and I work in the woodshop now. I am focusing on making things sculpturally out of wood and focusing my concepts on that. It has influenced my art.”
As students progress through art school, their work can level up as well, so when art students go to new classes it seems the goal is they may be able to apply what they learned in years past, essentially building on the foundational courses taken prior.
“Since all of this is from the foundation level, we rarely see much painting, so they will take the skills they learn here and apply them in the coming years,” Geiselman said. “So, say when they get to Ken’s printmaking class, they will up the level.”
Although students can see their work from their freshman year at the exhibit, that was not always the case. The exhibit used to be held in the summer months only, Preston said. Now, it is still displayed the first week.
“A couple of my goals when I install the show are I want it to have a good impact from the hallway with all the glass,” Preston said. “ When you are by the reception desk, I want people to be able to see every piece and not to be covered up. I always say people have seen the exhibit by walking by and through the window, now that is not true, but we try to put on the best representation of things that hopefully excite people.”
Right now, inclusion in the Ned and Gloria Griner Art Gallery is limited to those in Art School, although they are currently trying to include everyone.
“When I first came here, I was impressed with the quality of students and that impression has not diminished at all,” Preston said. “If you put your effort in and apply yourself, you will often get good results.”