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International School of Art & Design 2021 Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works Exhibition

April 27, 2021

Finlandia University’s International School of Art & Design (ISAD) 2021 Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works Exhibition is featured from April 28 to July 22, 2021, at the Finlandia University Gallery. The Finlandia University Gallery is located in the Finnish American Heritage Center in Hancock.

A reception for the artists and their families will take place at the gallery Saturday, May 1st, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. The exhibit is open to the public by appointment. Please email gallery@finlandia.edu to set up an appointment for viewing. Masks and social distancing are required.

The artworks featured in the annual Diploma Works Exhibit represent the final body of student work for each graduating bachelor of fine arts (BFA) student. The works include intensive research projects, series of individual artworks, and design prototypes. A variety of media is represented, including painting, ceramic design and graphic design.

The 2021 International School of Art & Design graduating seniors are Blue Kenwood (Intermedia), Ramona Kuhn (Ceramic Design) and Emma Mackey (Graphic Design).

Blue Kenwood in their studio with their final piece titled “We Are Queer”

“A person’s portrait can say a lot about them,” said Kenwood.  “The way the subjects are positioned, their expression, even what takes up the negative space around them creates meaning. Portraiture is rooted in power and representation.

“I created six portraits of queer people throughout history from different cultures and countries whose life stories coincide with the meaning of a color on the Pride Flag. With this series I want to bring validation to those who have been deemed ‘other’, representation to those who do not see themselves, and awareness to those people who do not realize that we do more than exist. We are your family, your friends, and your neighbors. We are here.”

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? How does one navigate the separation and spaces in which once were shared? What is a hug without two people?

Senior Ceramic Design artist Ramona Kuhn prepares her work for exhibition.

In a series of five vignettes titled “The Space Between Us,” Ceramic Design graduate Ramona Kuhn explores COVID’s effect on human connection. Using human-esque vessels to show the loss of physical connection Kuhn draws the viewer into a greater sense and understanding of space and what it means to be connected.

“Social interactions with others was one of the many things disrupted by COVID-19,” said Kuhn. “Human contact, or lack thereof, is one of the changes that was hardest to get used to.  Handshakes, hugs, and high fives are only some of the lost interactions. Touch is more apparent when there is the absence of it.”

Researching the way we interact with our digital devices and providing an antidote to that behavior led graphic design graduate Emma Mackey to create three Digital Illustrations titled Sacred Geometry: A Study of Meditative Design in Motion.

“Consuming content online can get overwhelming, especially if one gets sucked into constantly scrolling through bad news and social media posts that you know will sadden or stress yourself out,” said Mackey.  “In online spaces this is nicknamed ‘Doom scrolling’, or the phenomenon of finding yourself in a continuous loop of checking and rechecking worrisome content without stepping back.”

Emma Mackey at the computer creating Digital Illustrations as part of her Diploma Works.

In “The Koi Pond” Mackey references the historically prevalent image of a Koi pond.  Her digital illustration creates a soothing environment for the mind and soul, becoming a symbol of tranquility and harmony.

“The Mandala” uses a mix of geometric and organic shapes; its quiet colors are reminiscent of dried wildflowers. This animated Mandala creates a meditative experience with its “hypnotizing” spins and movements.

Continuing her theme of peaceful reflection, “The Breathing Typography” utilizes a minimalist color and text scheme to create a moving text instruction that guides the viewer through meditative breathing.

“Finlandia University International School of Art and Design Bachelor of Fine Arts Diploma Works Exhibition 2021” is on display at the Finlandia University Gallery through July 22, 2021.

The Finlandia University Gallery is in the Finnish American Heritage Center, 435 Quincy Street, Hancock. Gallery hours are available by appointment. Please call 906-487-7500 or email gallery@finlandia.edu for more information.

Learn more about this exhibit, other exhibits and the Finlandia University Gallery in general by visiting finlandia.edu/universitygallery

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