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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Senior Art Shows

The Basement Gallery features student work throughout Spring Quarter

The first round of the spring Senior Art Shows began on April 8 in the Basement Gallery. These shows allow art studio students of senior standing to showcase their work and share it with the community.

The first round of shows featured fourth-year art studio majors David Gonzalez Silva, Charlotte Saylor, Michelle Pang and Jennifer Hua. Each artist displayed work that best highlighted their style and artistic talent.

Silva’s displayed works included sculptures made of several different mediums including plywood, sawdust and ceramic materials. He is willing to take risks in his art in order to achieve a rustic and natural look in his pieces.  

Silva’s work highlights his passion for the natural world and its ecosystems. While taking an entomology class years back, Silva discovered a passion for insects and has included aspects of this passion in his art ever since.

“I tend to gain inspiration from the insect word,” Silva said “That’s really what my recent work is about — expirimenting with materials and actual insect forms and seeing what I can find in those structures,” Silva said.

Silva’s knowledge of entomological forms and life is evident in his style and he has mastered the use of many different materials and mediums.

UC Davis Professor of Art Robin Hill nominated Silva for the Outstanding Senior Award within the art studio major. Silva also works as a curator for the Basement Gallery and will continue to be involved with the rest of the senior showcases.

Meanwhile, Saylor’s display included several oil paintings and mixed media portraits. Her paintings are vibrant and expressive with strong brush strokes.

“[My style originated from] growing up, seeing painters like Van Gogh and seeing the paint rise from the canvas, so when I can I love going really thick with my brush strokes so you can really see that it’s oil paint; it’s beautiful,” Saylor said.

Saylor tends to focus on portraits and the human figure in her art.

“I love working with people,” Saylor said. “Portraits are my thing, mostly just because I love people-watching.”

One of Saylor’s favorite pieces on display was a mixed media drawing titled “Madonna with the Long Neck Re-envisioned.” This 60 by 84-inch drawing was inspired by Saylor’s love of art history and the time she spent studying abroad in Italy.

“My professor knew I wanted to work really big so he encouraged me to just go for it,” Saylor said about the piece. “I put it on the wall and had to stand on a stool to make it.”

The drawing took weeks to finish but the time and effort Saylor put in is evident in the eye-catching and extravagant final product.

Pang also highlights the human form in her art and in the works she displayed. Her untitled oil painting depicted two dream-like figures in an embrace. Pang demonstrated a skillful understanding of value and contrast in this phenomenal piece.

She also had several screen prints hung up that looked remarkably professional. They depicted characters and scenes from a heist story that Pang is currently writing.

“I would say that I tend to create very illustrative art,” Pang said. “My art mostly focuses on people, and their relationships with themselves and with others.”

Pang was inspired after taking her first printmaking class at Davis.

“Something about the medium really captured me,” Pang said. “Both of the printmaking professors that I’ve had, Noah Breuer and Graham McDougal, as well as my painting professor, Shiva Ahmadi, have been a huge inspiration to me here at Davis.”

Pang appreciated her experience being a part of the senior showcases.

“It was pretty cool to look through all the work that I’ve done since coming to Davis in preparation for putting up the show,” Pang said. “I think that I’ve developed and improved a lot as an artist since I’ve come here, and I’m happy with how the gallery came together.”

Hua had several beautiful oil paintings on display as well. She wanted to depict her growth and evolution as an artist through her displayed pieces.

“Throughout the years, I’ve made art that felt dramatic and lighthearted or whimsical,” Hua said. “I would describe my style as feeling free and unwilling to be restricted to anything.”

Hua drew a lot of inspiration from art history in her work. Her piece “Still Life Picnic” includes aspects reflective of Renaissance style artwork.  

Hua was grateful and proud to be part of the senior showcase.

“I think part of me feels mostly relieved and proud that I was able to showcase some of my artwork,” Hua said. “When I found out about senior art shows three years ago as second-year student, I had been waiting and hoping I could do the same too. The senior showcase in Spring is always a great source of inspiration and motivation.”

The Basement Gallery will be holding the Senior Art Shows through June 7. The Basement Gallery is located in the Art Building.

Written by: Alyssa Ilsley — arts@theaggie.org


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