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Printmaking students in ‘Impresionable Minds’ gallery use craft to express passion and struggle

Printmaking students in ‘Impresionable Minds’ gallery use craft to express passion and struggle

April 04
18:28 2016

Sadia Saeed | Staff Writer

The cool spring breeze flowed across the College of Visual Arts and Design as silence befell its outer surroundings. But inside the building awaited the Cora Stafford Gallery, where multiple students showcased the art they have been working on the entire semester.

The “Impressionable Minds” gallery was an exhibition that showcased several pieces made by CVAD students that ran from March 23-26. The gallery, open to printmaking students, displayed pieces ranging from lithographs and screen prints to reliefs. Including both graduates and undergraduates, “Impressionable Minds” contained art work all connected by a love for printmaking.

“[It was] meant to showcase printmaking by the students in the Advanced Printmaking Studio course,” said Connor Gillaspia, the student coordinator for the exhibition.

As the coordinator, Gillaspia work was primarily in advertising for the show as well as administration.

“Really, this exhibition was a team effort by everyone involved from creating the poster to drafting a press release and all the way to providing food for the reception,” Gillaspia said. “A lot of hard work and talent was placed into this show.”
Students have prepared since the first day of the spring semester to coordinate responsibilities and brainstorm ideas for the show, including coming up with the portfolio titles.

Gillaspia wanted to make art that was meant to be visually and conceptually cohesive when seen together.  This theme included the space chosen for the exhibition: the Cora Stafford Gallery. The gallery was considered an ideal location for its light filtering and the vast space hosting the individual pieces, as well as the portfolios showcased.

One such portfolio was created by printmaking senior Nathan Eclavea. Having artwork previously shown at Voertman’s, Eclavea is no stranger to showcasing his piece. Eclavea explained his process of using screen print as his primary printmaking technique.

“Usually, it takes me around two weeks to plan out the entire print,” Eclavea said. “I’ll start with a sketch, then solidify the image and then plan out all the layers, but the actual process of screen printing can go fairly quick and will usually take a day to print my edition.”

Such a print includes Eclavea’s “Take That Damn Mask Off Boy (Raccoon),” a piece revealing his struggle in choosing between real life and his passion a part of a larger collection.

“The different masks represent different times in my life where I was told to grow up because my passions weren’t considered realistic,” Eclavea said. “As the boy grows older in the print the more concerned he becomes with his masks because to him it’s not passion anymore, but reality.”

Using the prints to channel meaning, Eclavea and many others build layers of a story, including studio art graduate student Jessie Barnes.

“What attracts me to printmaking is the dynamic range of mark-making it provides, and the struggle and joy of the process and resulting imagery,” Barnes said when asked about what intrigues her about printmaking.

Her piece in the gallery complimented the theme for the class portfolio, “Veils and Constructs.” She decided to change her usual way of creating print though her work is mainly figurative. Her printmaking process can take anywhere from one week to more than two months at a time.

“I enjoy telling stories and composing new narratives with my work,” Barnes said. “Right now, my work is about the vulnerability of children and the broader social issues of violence against them in our world.”

Impressionable Minds exhibition created the space needed to exclusively showcase just printmaking and the name alone was a work of art in itself.

“We wanted to create a name that represented both the medium of printmaking and our experience as students,” Gillaspia said.

The exhibition was a product of the leaning achieved at UNT, and more specifically CVAD.

“You could say this is the purpose of our higher education,” Gillaspia said. “To leave an impression on students to help them achieve their future goals.”

Featured Image: “Impressionable Minds” ran from March 23-26 at the Cora Stafford Gallery. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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