Twenty-nine students pursuing art degrees are seeing their time at Ohio State near its end, but before they can walk across the stage at the ‘Shoe, they have one last project to complete.
Those graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts are presenting their senior projects at the Urban Arts Space at 50 W. Town St. through May 7. Work shown encompasses a wide variety of mediums.
“It gives you a view of all the different things happening in visual arts,” said Merijn van der Heijden, the deputy director of exhibitions and curatorial practice at the Arts Initiative.
OSU offers undergraduate art degrees in seven areas of study: art and technology, ceramics, glass, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Examples of all seven will be on display at the Urban Arts Space.
This exhibition has a capstone feel, said Jesse Mervis, a graduating fourth-year whose work is being shown.
“I tried to get out of my comfort zone with this project, which is a bigger one than I have taken on before,” Mervis said. “I still have other projects to do, but this is the big one.”
Mervis’ contribution to the exhibition is his work with photograms, which are made by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing it to light in a dark room. His works are roughly 3-by-2 feet in size.
“It’s basically using the light of the enlarger in the dark room as a projector and producing images onto photo paper,” he said. “I’ve done similar stuff the past few semesters, but I’ve never seen anybody make photograms this large.”
Cassandra Hendershot, a fourth-year in art, contributed three paintings to the exhibit, all made using a windshield wiper as a paintbrush tool.
“It allows me to create areas that are more organic in nature, but it also allows me to experiment with line and more geometric qualities,” she said in an email. “It’s funny because I’ve sort of become known as the windshield wiper girl in the painting studios.”
Hendershot said she has taken to using experimental techniques when painting, like working with the canvas on the ground and pouring paint across it.
“I really have to use my entire body to pull the squeegee and make my marks across the entire canvas,” she said. “There’s a certain freedom in not knowing exactly what the painting will look like when it’s dry.”
The Urban Arts Space is a mostly student-run exhibition center and performance space. It showcases work by students and local artists year-round, providing art and non-art majors alike with a downtown gallery in which to gain real-world experience.
“On and off of campus, OSU does a great job showing student work,” Mervis said. “The facilities have left nothing to be desired.”
And now that graduation is on the horizon, students can look back and appreciate the transformation the program has helped bring to their art.
“Going through the program has put me in contact with a lot of great classmates and faculty who have brought my work a long way,” Mervis said.
A reception for the exhibition is set to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 7. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free.