Tarble to unveil graduate thesis show


Mercury Bowen

Jacqueline D. Wright, graduate studio art graduate student, places her largest artistic work in the center of her display in hopes of catching the viewers’ attention.

Mercury Bowen, Verge Reporter

Nine Studio Art graduate students devoted countless hours preparing their artwork to be displayed at the annual Graduate Thesis Show this weekend at Tarble Arts Center. 

The show is an opportunity for the Master of Arts candidates in EIU Art department to present their work in a professional setting.

Viewers will have a chance to see several works by each of the graduate students that used many different mediums such as drawings, sculptures, optical illusion works, video and photography, digital work, and several styles of paintings.

Each student’s artwork will be grouped separately, but the viewers can look at all of the artwork as whole.

Lindsey Becker, studio art graduate student, said the main reason for participating in an art show as a thesis it creates a more relatable and beneficial experience, instead of writing a paper, the students would have as artists.

“It gives us a chance to understand what it means to have an art practice,” Becker said.

Jacqueline D. Wright, graduate studio art student, said that she is glad that the art students get a chance to demonstrate to the campus and community what art students do.

“Artists and art students used to have a reputation of being not academic,” Wright said, “Now because it is so academic, the work is a lot more in-depth.”

As part of the show, each participant is asked to do “orals” in which the graduate student is asked to present their own works to a committee of three art department faculty members that the students chose at the beginning of the year to help guide their work.

Becker said to prepare for orals, she examines her reference points in regards to art history and the purpose for the art that she makes.

“It’s one thing to make your work, but talking about it can be a whole other beast entirely,” Becker said.

Gwendolyn Stewart, studio art graduate student, said that one of the biggest difficulties of the show has been trying to fit all of the artwork into the showroom in an aesthetically pleasing way.

The whole process of laboring over the work, installing it, and then presenting the actual show is a challenge according to Becker.

Wright said that the time constraint is the biggest obstacle for her.

“You tend to not sleep and skip a few meals,” Wright said, “Then when you’re turning it in, you see something you missed.”

When arranging her pieces, Wright said she displays one of her stronger or more detailed pieces in the front to draw viewers in to see the rest of her pieces.

Stewart said that what she liked about showcasing her work was that it is in the kind of atmosphere she wanted to work in.

“I’ve never had my work displayed in this kind of atmosphere so I think that will be super exciting to see,” Stewart said.

According to Wright, the show is special to her because she gets to see what her hands can do.

“I get to see the faults, I get to see the ideas I had come to fruition,” Wright said with tears in her eyes, “It moves me because I didn’t think I could.”

The people Wright depicted in her art influenced her life she said, and her works are a way to give back and honor them to a quality that makes them recognizable to viewers.

“When I can look back at that and say ‘Wow these hands were able to do that’,” Wright said, “That is what I like and I like to show it.”

Wright said that the show is also special to her because her mother graduated from Eastern.

“It took her whole life to get (her degree) but she did,” Wright said, “If you want something you work for it. If you need to take a break or a detour fine, but get back on that road.”

The show will open April 16 and close with a reception from 7p.m. to 9p.m. on May 6.

There will be refreshments available and the students will be presenting their artwork then.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].