2020 IB/AP VISUAL ART EXHIBITION

May 30, 2020

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Every year in the spring, NDPMA students, teachers and parents notice the elaborate array of artwork spread out around the main triangle. Some have said it's akin to the experience of visiting a museum. These pieces of art include those created by Notre Dame Prep IB Visual Arts seniors. 

Following the requirements of the International Baccalaureate, these students must select some of their best artworks and arrange them into an exhibition. This final exhibition, in which students must also defend and articulate their purpose and intention in a written rationale, is the culmination of each student artist’s IB Visual Arts (IBVA) experience and accounts for 40 percent of the final grade.

This spring for Notre Dame is different. Very different. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent closing of the NDPMA campus for the remainder of the school year, Sandy LewAllen, chair of Notre Dame’s art department, couldn't physically mount this year's IB Art Exhibition before the school year ended. She hopes, however, to get the physical show up when the rescheduled graduation ceremony occurs later this summer.

"In the meantime, we've decided to post our nine IB Visual Art candidate exhibitions and two AP Studio Drawing portfolios on the school website," LewAllen said. "The work is just too good not to be viewed by as many people as possible. Please enjoy!" 


CLAIRE BRISLEY
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
Through this body of work, I am hoping to show how art can be representative of memories, coming of age and culture. In my body of work, I want the subject of reflection to be present in all of my pieces. I chose reflection to represent my body of work because the word itself can be used both literally and figuratively. It can mean a reflection as in a mirror or sunglasses, or it can mean reflection as in reflecting on memories and traditions. By incorporating literal and figurative reflective pieces, this overarching interest allowed for in-depth, self-discovery and experimentation with unfamiliar mediums. With many different interpretations, I thought that it would be interesting to convey to my viewers what reflection means to me and portray it in a visually appealing way. Through each piece I have created, the question I hope to answer is: how can my art exhibit memories through reflection? Memories and past experiences are a large part of what makes me who I am and I want to illustrate my own self-growth through my work. I hope that the viewers see and understand the impact of memories on oneself and what happens to those memories as we grow older.

I have used a range of approaches to create this exhibition. My work explores a variety of interests like household traditions, fading memories, the Macedonian culture and familial relationships. I explore the impact these moments have had on my life and a new appreciation for them as I grow older. My works consists of a variety of media, including, graphite, colored pencil, sculpture, photo montage, linoleum print, etching print, assemblage, acrylic paint, ceramics and embroidery. Symbolism is prevalent in my work as I use them to give my pieces more story and enrichment. One of the repeated symbols I use in my work is the idea of reflective sunglasses. In my pieces, “Saturday Morning Coffee” and “Traverse City Views,” I include a small reflection shown inside the lenses of my sunglasses. This is one instance where reflection is used both figuratively and literally because it reveals how I reflect on the time spent with the people I love. The techniques and styles of Han Cao, Mark Digeros, M.C Escher, Nelson Makamo and the works of many other contemporary artists have become important sources of inspiration for me and my body of work. 

I have chosen to exhibit my work similar to a salon-style hanging, in which the artwork of various sizes are grouped together and hung next to one another. The works of art are placed in a “crowded” composition style. I plan on placing pieces of all sizes next to each other in order to keep the gallery composition interesting. Many of my recent pieces have included vibrant colors. I think I have a nice mix of vibrancy and neutrality among my work, because of this I would like to somewhat alternate between these two schemes within my gallery. This ensures that my pieces will not get lost and that each one stands out in their own way; this also allows the viewer to appreciate my gallery as a whole. Through this composition I strive to exhibit how many of the illustrated components I showcase have made me the person I am today. My hope is for the audience to notice that each one of us has memories, significant or insignificant, and to reflect on how those memories have shapes us as we continue to grow. Through my gallery style, I want each person to look at my illustrated reflections and relate it back to their personal life. 

ARTWORK


VICTORIA CASE
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale 
In this body of work, I hope to portray how art can express emotion of one’s own self and struggles of mental illness. In the context of my art, I illustrate the different emotions, feelings, and the struggles I have gone through with my mother who is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. My work targets the struggles my family has gone through, along with my deterioration and growth as a person. By presenting this collection, I hope the audience understands how mementos are expressed within the context of my family in my work.

I have dissected into the trauma of mental illness in a family and its toll on oneself. My work introduces emotions, trauma, abuse, past experiences, mental illness, and how all of that has shaped who my family and I are today. My work is demonstrated on many different medias expressing different experiences in my own life surrounding the struggles my mother has caused. Overarching themes that are conspicuous are self, family mementos, symbolism, and memories. Symbolism plays a huge part in my pieces, many of them relating to my own experiences in my life. The variety of different medias have been assembled to create my body of work are sculpture, acrylic paintings, a montage, photography, and a graphite drawing. The inspiration of my work was influenced by Pablo Picasso’s Blue Period. I was intrigued with his use of blue to convey his emotions. The blue colors and tones allowed viewers to truly feel Picasso’s thoughts. In my work I hope to express my emotion through my artwork. The techniques of Carrie Kilgore have become a source of creativity, especially in my series of three works. The three portraits consist of myself and my sisters, each background is a different color symbolizing who we are as people. Her technique reels viewers in, with the detailed eyes and the vibrant colors.

I have chosen to exhibit my artwork gallery style. I want my pieces to be right in the viewers face. This approach will offer an intimate, personal viewing experience, to engage the viewers. I hope this style and approach will help them relate their personal experiences with my work. Although I am influenced by the works of Picasso, I am also drawing to contemporary artists that are globally, culturally, and technologically influenced. Overall experience of my body of work provokes the viewers emotion when looking at my work. I want to see what they get out of it. As emotion and identity are aspects of my piece, viewers will also see growth.

ARTWORK


SABRINA FITZGERALD
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
Through the presentation of my body of work, I hope to convey how art can make a statement about issues in our modern world. Within my art, I focused on the negative effects that humans have on animals. The negative effects that I have focused on in my body of work are issues of climate change, environmental destruction, and the effects industrialization. I hope my body of work, impacts the audience in a way that makes them reflect on how they have affected the environment. In my body of work, I hope to express how much of an impact humans have on the environment around us.

Within my artwork I have explored using a variety of motifs, juxtapositions, and composition techniques to aid me in my expression. There is often the motif of animals throughout my art pieces. I have often included the motif of mammals, reptiles and birds within my art. The art style of Amada Shelster’s clay figures and the use of the crowed composition in Lluis Barba’s photomontages have inspired me. Both artists often use the post-modern art technique of juxtaposition within their work. In my dry point etching, Lizard with skull, I included my live lizard juxtaposed with the dead animal skull. Many of my life experiences of taking care of animals helped me to understand how animals react to the things and people around them.

When presenting my artwork, I want to use the salon-style hanging technique. I feel this technique would best suit the flow of my pieces. I feel like the tight floor to ceiling would best show off my pieces in a cohesive way. When showing my 3D pieces, I want them to be in the center of my gallery with my other 2D pieces surrounding it. I want to convey to the audience that all my pieces are connected. I also want my gallery to be in a half circle. I would like to start with my pieces that don’t have much of a message toward the left and then as it goes to the right the pieces have a deeper message. I want to do this because most people read from left to right so it would cause the viewer to follow through the pieces in continuous flow. With this arrangement, I hope that the viewer will start to think about their effects on the environment. 

ARTWORK


REID GABOURY
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
From the day we are born, what is around us shapes who we are as a person. Persons, places and ideas are the building blocks for what becomes our identity. As people develop and mature, their values are formed, who they are as a person is finalized in a sense. The influences that a person has been exposed to are highlighted. Through this body of work, I hope to showcase all of the influences that have played a role in my life, the good and the bad, to give the viewer a sense of who I am and what defines my life. By presenting my pieces in this showcase, I hope that the audience will understand the story of my character, my personality and my experiences.

The range of issues that my pieces cover is widespread, detailing my life. Activist artists, such as Keith Haring, who use their creative outlet as a way to advocate for change have a immense influence on my art. Not so much in style, but in message. Issues such as death, substance-abuse, mental illness, and the endless list of challenges life throws at you all shape the negative half of influences that I showcase in my art. Issues that people don’t want to talk about due to negative social connotation, I do because they are relevant to my life and my experiences. Spanning across a wide range of media: graphite, acrylic, prints, photography, ceramics, and assemblage. This multitude of media allows for creative freedom in not only expressing the negative influences, but the positive influences as well. In order to draw in positive inspiration for art pieces, I need to take a step back and realize all of the good in my life; from there, I could focus on the positive.

I am going to showcase my work in the French salon-style display. Life happens quickly and this the message I want to get across. By having my art compacted together in a smaller spacing, it shows how close all of these events have happened in comparison to one another. One can eventually start to understand the timeline more coherently, the emotional phases that I have gone through, and the influences that make up oneself. By viewing the showcase, there is a hope that the viewers may think of their own timeline, find pieces that they relate upon, and find personal connections among depictions of another person's expressions.

ARTWORK


SANA MUQUEEN
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
As a result of our experiences, we see the world through a lens. Each one of us view the world a little differently as not everyone shares all the same experiences. My body of work views the world through a cultural lens: through my duality. My experiences as a woman with dual ethnicities, and as growing up in America, have impacted the way I view the world. I view the world as a place to call my home, and it is this concept of home that I too have explored. My vision for presenting this body of work is to help the audience see the world that I live in, the places that I call home. It is through this style and my artwork that I want to connect with viewers in a relatable manner and present who I am.

In my work, I have explored the concept of duality and how that translates to my cultural identity. I have explored what the sense of belonging is within my two cultures, as well as what my sense of home is. That sense of belonging and home have been significantly evident in my sculpture pieces and in my paintings, which refers to my thoughts on what home is: Is home a physical place? Is it the house that I live in or is it where I feel I belong? One of my pieces using calligraphy, titled “Home,” explores how I identify with my cultures versus how I identify as an American. In Japanese, it reads “home”, with Urdu weaving through in gold, writing “this is where I’m from but this is not my home.” I’ve had conflicts with accepting being an American and being Asian, and I investigate that in my pieces. 

My dual cultures have shaped the way that I see the world through experiences of traveling in Japan and participating in cultural events with my Pakistani side of the family. Likewise, living as an Asian-American has shaped the way I see what home is and where I feel I am supposed to be. My work is characterized by vibrant colours, patterns, and motifs of hands, jewelry, and fans. Through the research I have done, my work has become influenced by modern artists, such as Anila Quayyum Agha and Makoto Kagoshima, and by traditional artists, like Koshiro Onchi. They have inspired me to explore different mediums and concepts, and explore how I connect to others through things that I would otherwise believe nobody understands. Agha’s exploration of intricate Islamic design and patterns mixed with Makoto Kagoshima’s minimalist pieces have created a balance between the intricacy and simple in my work, such as “Palm Reading” and “A House and A Home.” 

I want to present my work in a way that welcomes the viewer. Through vibrant colours and detailed patterns, I want to invite viewers to what home feels like to me and the conflict that I’ve had with accepting where I belong and who I am. Using these elements of art to draw them in, I hope to develop a relationship between the viewers and my body of work in a way that relates the two. My body of work is to inspire a connection between people, relating our shared experiences and feelings. Living as an Asian and as an Asian-American I know has impacted more than just me – and through my work I hope to connect people together and show them how I have chosen to express myself. I want the audience to view my work and understand the way I see the world.

ARTWORK


BEN SHICK
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
Through my presented body of work, I am investigating what it means to be an animal and how can humans be animals, but be perceived as so different from the wild. The relationship between humans and animals is extremely complex and through my body of work I hope to visually analyze what makes humans and animals similar and what makes them different – what separates man from being wild. Through the context of my art, I visually analyze how humans are animals, but what makes an animal a beast, what about humans makes them civilized. Do any other animals preform ‘civilized’ actions? And what emotions or ideas are formed when a ‘wild animal’ is placed in a human scenario.

A range of approaches have been utilized in my exhibition. I started with independent analysis of myself – the human I understand the best. I used self portrait in order to investigate the human form. I believe that in order to fully understand humans and animals, analysis should start from the outside and work inward. This led to me investigating what I as a human care about — then into what I stress about. I then transitioned into animals, starting with the animal I understand the best, my pet dog. This is when I began taking a new approach to the overall goal for my work: recontextualization. By recontextualizing, I have been able to look at my body of work through a new perspective, one that is not natural in the real world. The techniques and styles of artists such as Lauren Marx, or Cassius Marcellus Coolidge have become valuable sources for inspiration in my body of work.

I have chosen to exhibit my artwork in a salon-style hanging. My intention is to create a crowd of paintings allowing each piece to highlight or juxtapose those surrounding it. By forming this crowd of art, having each work surrounded by another I hope to convey the idea that everything is connected. Though we sometimes believe humans and different than animals were not. We all have the same basic needs, we all feel emotion, and we all affect those around us. One piece does not make up the whole picture. All the pieces are required in order to create this bigger idea, the idea of unification under nature.

ARTWORK


ABIGAIL SMITH
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition


Curatorial Rationale
Through my body of work, I hope to show the isolation that envelops everything around us, as well as the beauty that can come in and out of it. The effect that isolation has on me is significant and controls much of how I see life.   Isolation affects life and how we view the world around us, which may be for the better or worse.   My body of work delves into the struggle then the eventual embrace of isolation.  Through my pieces, there is a gaze into my phases in and out of isolation, filled with fleeting experiences that continue to expose the deeper emotions inside.

My experiences through isolation and view on life have fueled my body of work. They are filled with a "longingness" to belong and to see beauty when you feel like there is none. I find myself using symbols a lot and most of my body of work being symbolized through birds.  Birds help to represent the ability to caged so easily and let the isolation overtake you, but also the freedom to escape.  Especially with my series of 3 prints, Alone in the House, Caged in the House, and Outcast from the House, birds are seen as the main focal point of the pieces.  There is an exploration into life with family and friends, and never feeling like you truly belong where you are told to fit in, like a contrasting bird in a flock all the same.  I have also always found a fascination with decaying buildings, left behind for so long, and beauty that can be found in them. The artists that influence my body of work the most are Suzanne Moxhay and Andrea Kowch, with their melancholic colors, isolated landscapes, and the use of symbols.

I have chosen to exhibit my body of work through a salon style of hanging, showcasing my pieces from floor to ceiling to create a tie between all of the pieces.  I arrange them to create a chronological order and flow through time to show the struggle then acceptance of isolation in my life.  Hanging them close together will create a sense of unity and show that all my pieces come together to form a complete body of work.

ARTWORK


MEGAN SOLLMER
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition


Curatorial Rationale
Through my body of work, I organized my struggles that assimilate the feelings of loss of acceptance, in hopes that people may relate and find peace through visualizing my experiences. Through my observation of the large scale of people that I interact with on a day to day basis, I have noticed the urge that most are overtaken by to feel like they belong. Knowing you belong brings comfort and serenity that drives most people to be themselves or in some cases, lose themselves. I am one of the many who feel lost in terms of where I believe I belong and through my artistic journey, I have been able to sort through my thoughts in hopes to find that peace that I’ve been looking for. 

I have approached this obsession with the feeling of belonging through many different perspectives. I have experimented with having a broader interpretation, like in my figuration sculpture “…when will you feel complete?”, where I placed three figures desperately clinging onto a chair to illustrate a scene of our internal conflict and how it is a part of our human nature to feel a desire for a connection towards someone or something. I have also attempted the paths where I depict a personal memory, place, or person that I felt connected to, or felt disclosed from. By depicting specific instances from my own life, the viewers may have the opportunity to relate and possibly feel a connection of their own to my body of work. I have worked with a variety of mediums that have allowed me to grow as an artist including charcoal, dry point etching, assemblage, and ceramics. These pieces were inspired by the unique approaches of the artists Wan Jim Gim and Adam Riches. They have become my mentors throughout my stylistic investigation and conceptual dissection. 

My body of work would function best with a gallery-style approach. With this style, I would be able to generate an exhibition that is personal for all viewers. The gallery layout will depict a relationship among my pieces through reflecting a timeline of my personal life, while still making broad connections. Because of this, viewers will have the opportunity to look inwards at themselves and see what belonging means to them. Some may relate deeply, and others may learn from the mistakes I’ve made when it comes to finding acceptance.

ARTWORK


MELISSA UTYKANSKI
IB Visual Art Candidate
Senior Exhibition

Curatorial Rationale
Through my body of work, I hope to visualize how one’s identity is shaped by their memories and past experiences. My art is the collection of memories I possess and believe are the ones that have impacted my life the most, making me who I am today. By making these memories into tangible art, it helps to clearly convey the understanding that personal growth happens through reflection on past experiences. My memories-turned-into-mementos help convey this message, and I hope that they will inspire the viewer to take a step back and evaluate the events that may have influenced the way they perceive themselves.

In order to do this, I have used a wide range of approaches to artistically express my ideas. I tend to focus on multiple different subject matters that fit together to thematically direct my work to portray that personal growth is evident through reflection on past experiences. One way I do this is with objects. My graphite series and sculptural pieces deal with the same motif, a skirt that is indicative of my experience as a dancer. I also explore these past experiences by depicting certain people whom I credit a large portion of my upbringing, like my colored pencil portrait titled, Nonna’s House. Symbolism and motifs from my own experiences end up being large components to my work. Along with it being from personal encounters, my work is also largely influenced by other artists and styles. Andrea Kowch is a surrealist artist who had me visually and conceptually mesmerized by the first glance. Her dream-like environments have inspired me to play with the settings of my own works, encouraging me to incorporate more nature scenes. The technique and styles of other contemporary artists, such as Scott Eaton and Cath Riley, also continue to serve to be mentors in my creative process.

While variety is important to my body of work, I also like to create a sense of unity by coordinating pieces of the same subject matter or art-making forms. I believe the best way to exhibit my work is in a gallery style, paying attention to the hierarchy of importance in the arrangement. I was sure to place coordinating pieces together to emphasize their message. This approach will effectively present my work as more of a collage or collection of gathered mementos that unitedly shape me into the person I am today.

ARTWORK


AMELIA CUMMING
AP Studio Drawing Portfolio

Sustained Investigation
In my body of work, I set into motion a movement towards truth, meaning, and self-understanding, manifested as a quiet struggle against trauma and the distortions fomented by perception and memory. I aim to create vulnerable, contemplative portraiture, which utilizes continuing motifs of light, shadow and reappropriated Catholic imagery to inspire a strengthening of the viewer’s understanding of self. 
    
In my own life, I tend to leave much of my experience unspoken. This has forced me to contemplate the sheer depth of what is communicated through silence – through bare elements of light and darkness, sight and the unseen, presence and absence, the eyes of the viewer and the eyes of the viewed. Portraits, and in particular self-portraits, confront the viewer uniquely, as they force one to acknowledge the unreachable depth of personhood residing behind the veil of the image.

How do we cross the boundary between one another? How do we convey ourselves without being distorted or misunderstood? How can we reach self-definition of our identities, especially in the personal contexts of womanhood and marginalization?

Engaged in the answer to these questions is a multilayered definition of light and dark. Dark is what is hidden and unseen, the unobserved self, the trauma and the toiling. Light as it’s cast makes its subjects comprehensible, but its understanding is not necessarily pure – the visible conveys neither the whole nor the true. To swim to the surface and present your truths to the world abovewater is to be confronted by additional violence, inflicted by misunderstanding, scrutiny, voyeurism, and the unreliability of memory. The first pieces in my investigation convey the struggle to reach the light, to reach out to others and to grapple with the difficulties of being perceived. Contrasts between dark and light suspend the subject of the portrait midway through the boundary between two worlds. Delicate textural qualities and painstaking detail invite the viewer inwards, focusing them towards contemplation of the visible. However, many figures stare directly back at the viewer, confronting their presence in return.

The final pieces assert what is achieved when we triumph over this struggle, achieving strength, genuine vulnerability, and understanding. When both dark and light foment isolation and lack of understanding, my body of work ultimately argues that we must cast our own light, creating our own objects of contemplation, our own means of communicating with each other, our own histories, our own seats at the table. Moreover, we must have faith that our beliefs have substance in the dark, when only we can understand them. 

ARTWORK


ABIGAIL WODRICH
AP Studio Drawing Portfolio

Sustained Investigation
In my body of work, I try to capture the sun’s light in various natural settings. I feature landscapes focusing light on clouds, water or structures. Landscapes are an accurate representation of the cyclic and ever-changing nature of sunlight. I illustrate the sun both rising and setting on lakes and its surroundings, ever-present light on gloomy days, light exaggerated with impasto techniques and vibrant colors to reinforce movement and direction of light.

I captured the evading few minutes of golden-hour sunlight in a series of soft pastels. My investigation moved into depicting light with exaggerated highlights and shadows in two black and white pieces. I revised my intent after experimenting with black and white ink and charcoal. This only allowed for contrast of light and dark rather than full embodiment of sunlight I strived to achieve with color. I realized this intent in my post-impressionistic oil paintings. My personal style developed when laying down paint in the sunrise on a lake. This work began to transition to be more dynamic because of the impasto and brush strokes. Then, I focused on the direction of light with heavy color and brush strokes which led to an impressionistic style.

ARTWORK


 

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.

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