By Kendra Johnson, Arts Editor (Courtesy photo/The Bison)
OBU honors student Sierra Roller will present her senior capstone and honors thesis art show April 14, at 7:00-9:00 p.m. in the Art Building.
An art major and creative writing minor, Roller will display the results of years of work in her art show entitled “The Worlds Beyond,” which will be on display from April 7 to April 20.
“The main part of it, the main gallery, is my honors thesis project which is studying the movement Art Nouveau, which is a very small movement from 1890- 1910,” Roller said.
“It led to Art Deco, like the 1920’s Gatsby style look people really like. And the pieces I have and the three different posters I have around campus, they’re are all based off of three different artists from different countries.”
The three artists whom Roller’s artwork will center around the styles of are Alphonse Mucha, Aubrey Beardsley and Gustav Klimt.
“The ink drawings are by Aubrey Beardsley, who is an English illustrator and he died really young, and he was one of the forerunners who helped make it explode,” Roller said.
Yet some individuals might be less familiar with Beardsley’s work since it is somewhat less well known.
In contrast, Alphonse Mucha is an icon of the era and style.
“He’s the most notable,” Roller said. “Most people recognize his the most because he was the poster child of the movement.”
Klimt is another wellknown artist of the Art Nouveau movement.
“Gustav Klimt is from Austria and he’s known for ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Woman In Gold’ that movie about the painting of the woman in gold, that [painting] was one of his as well,” Roller said.
“And so, he was one of the later ones, he and Alphonse [Mucha] both were near the end of the movement.”
However, OBU students who have seen Roller’s posters for her art show around campus may have noticed something other than the Art Nouveau style first: the Star Wars characters that feature prominently on them.
“The subject is Star Wars, so pretty much just means that I’m using the character and the scenes from the movies, because I needed a subject broad enough to encompass the different artist’s styles,” she said.
“Because Beardsley was an illustrator so he used scenes, because most of his works are illustrated scenes based off of illustrated scenes from different novels,” Roller said.
“Then Mucha did series of four paintings and he would always do women.”
She chose to explore Star Wars through Art Nouveau out of a longtime passion for both science fantasy and the Art Nouveau movement.
“I just really like Art Nouveau,” Roller said.
“Ever since high school I loved Gustav Klimt. And a bunch of the artists that I follow on social media, a lot of their artwork has also been heavily influenced by Mucha and Gustav Klimt.”
Even some of the work on display from before she began working on the Star Wars Art Nouveau project reflects some of these same themes.
“In the little entry way to my gallery, will be pieces I’ve done throughout my time here at OBU,” Roller said.
“A lot of them are among sort of like the same thing: these worlds beyond, or like surrealistic pieces.”
Although some of the works on display were made early in her time at OBU, Roller began working on her capstone much earlier than most art majors, since the process of preparing her show began during her junior year.
Such a timeline represents honors guidelines.
Honors students are required to submit a full proposal and bibliography to the honors program director, Dr. Tawa Anderson, before March 15 of their junior year, according to the Honors Handbook.
“I was able to know beforehand what my project was, what my show was going to be about,” she said.
“Because for many, we don’t really think about it; we look back on the work that we have and [we think] what thing can we get from this.”
Due to the honors thesis segment of the art show, Roller will actually present her show twice.
“I have two presentations, one honors presentation and then an actual reception,” she said.
The nature of her show as a thesis also gave her freedom to make some choices with the show that other art majors might not have been able to do.
“It was different because I did put in a pop culture reference,” Roller said. “Since this was my thesis I can get away with it, whereas if it’s just a regular art show I have to show original art work, because you can’t just be showing fan art; you have to show that you have original ideas as well.”
Most honors theses, however, are academic papers based on heavy research.
According to OBU Honors Program Handbook, “The Honors Program values and encourages the traditional scholarly activities of extensive reading, research and analytical writing; this is reflected in the various course assignments, but especially in the optional thesis capstone.”
Roller’s thesis and show will display her research into the Art Nouveau movement and the way she used the research to create her Star Warsthemed show.
For a full schedule of arts shows, see the Art Building, or refer to the Fine Arts “Week at a Glance” in this section.
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