Over the summer, while many were on vacation from the rigors of intellectual stimulation and academia. A number of Millersville students spent their vacation creating pieces which were on display in the Sykes Gallery the first week of classes.

Running from May 4 to August 28, in the Sykes Gallery of Breidenstine Hall, approximately 100 pieces of artwork were selected for gallery display by professors in the MU art department.

A variety of artistic mediums were used to create the pieces on display. Ranging from traditional oil on canvas and various metal works including sculpture and jewelry, to pieces using computer manipulation.

All feature the one constant that makes for great works of art: creative, careful work on the part of the artist in his or her creation.

Current political themes were subjects of various pieces on display.

Photo by Christian Shuts.
Photo by Christian Shuts.

At first glance Senior Heather Bauscher’s mixed media piece “Failure to Communicate” explores a mass-media perception of the American public as a machine that sits and consumes, only acting upon the impulses the mass media gives us to act upon.

The need to be critical of “leaders” and “authority” is the subject of Jared Bender’s piece “Seriously?”: several baby-like figures cast in bronze face a figure lecturing to the masses, except for one. A figure in a patina, standing out from the others, turns away from the direction of the masses, with eyes wide open.

King African power figures which use nails to symbolize strength, Bender used screws for the same effect in the figure that questions authority.

The lecturing babies screws are starting to emerge, symbolizing that authority figures will no longer hold such power over the masses.

“This was my first stab at a politically themed piece. It was inspired by my professors who have pushed all of their students to create pieces with personality.” said Bender.

When asked why he uses babies, Bender explains, “I chose babies for the figures since they are so easily influenced and have not developed critical thinking skills.” said Bender.

A conceptual, rather than aesthetic, piece by art club president Andrew Yeager, “Onsense” was created by scratching a design into four old records by lounge musician Esquivel! This multi-media piece is accompanied by a 22-minute recording of music created after scratching the design into the records.

”People have commented that I should not have used those old records to make a piece, however I think that Esquivel would have been thrilled with my efforts.” said Yeager, “I think every artist should follow the lineage of conceptual artists and try to mix, blend and blot the line boundaries of music and art. Creating new works that challenge the conventional thinking on ‘art’” he added.

The traditional, style of oil on canvas with imperfect brushstrokes reminiscent of French impressionists, is the medium used for Greg Smith’s work, “Three Figures.”

Three people: a nude male, a nude female, and a clothed younger woman look into each others’ eyes with sharp focus and intent that draws the viewer to look at the piece.

Along a wall facing the windows of the Sykes Gallery, artistic self portraits featuring diverse use of medium in their creation were displayed.

Unlike many self portraits, Becca Settle’s “Self Portrait” does not show the artist herself.

Instead, small pictures of everyday material items and a segment of the poem “Ode to Things” by Pablo Neruda were used in the creation of a symbolic self portrait. “The poem helped inspire me in the sense that I used material objects, their appearance and their symbolism to create a portrait of myself. The guidelines of the project were to not use any recognizable human body features to depict oneself,” said Settle.

Student Sara Hess used low tech lighting, cheap magnifying glasses, much experimentation and a little bit of tweaking in Adobe Photoshop before creating the final version of her self-portrait. “It’s unlike anything I have ever created, it’s the first time I actually turned the camera on myself for artistic purposes.” said Hess.

“After I submitted the photos for the assignment, Prof. Frischkorn approached me and asked if she could put one of the pictures in the gallery. I was very excited… it’s the first time any of my photos have been in a gallery at school.” she said.

When discussing her shark necklace, Katie Zargiel said “To me, making jewelry is not about creating something pretty or flashy. Sure as a designer I take into consideration how a piece will turn out, and i want it to be attractive.”

“My work is usually always about the content though. Jewelry is intimate, to me, it says a lot about the maker and the wearer. I want the person wearing my jewelry to be able to relate to my intention. I want there to be a personal connection.”