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Exhibit Showcases Student Art


Photo credit: Colby Shoup

Written by: Colby ShoupMarch 01, 2017

All of Nate Morris’ sculptures are personal, even if he doesn’t realize it while he’s making them, he said.

“I call myself a tinkerer,” Morris said. “I just kind of build things for the hell of it because that’s the kind of thing I like to do. I figure out what I was thinking and what I was expressing about myself afterwards, but in the moment, it’s all just about building something.”

Morris will be one of the five senior Bachelor of Fine Arts students displaying their work in the Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition April 3 – May 7 in the Visual Arts Gallery. All the artists will be on hand for the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. April 6 in the Visual Arts Gallery.

Although he considered studying drawing and graphic design, Morris said a part of him always knew he would come back to sculpting. His father was an engineer for Raytheon and his grandfather worked for NASA. They would encourage him to take objects apart and figure out how they worked when he was a kid. He said that was when he first became a tinkerer.

Morris takes his inspiration from the science fiction movies he grew up watching with his father. This is why many of his sculptures are of robots, spaceships and rayguns, he said.

“Most of my work is about the idea of false nostalgia,” Morris said. “We tend to change the way things were in our head and convince ourselves everything used to be better than it actually was. To make that point, I use images that remind me of my past.”

After serving in the Iraq War, Morris said he lost sight of who he was, so he enrolled in art classes at IPFW. He started taking things apart again, this time to make sculptures.

Morris’ classmate Derek Hibbs said he also relives his past through his art. However, he does it through printmaking.

“A lot of my stuff incorporates the idea of the state of survival,” Hibbs said. “That’s kind of based on me coming from a blue collar worker upbringing. My parents worked 12 hours a day in what was basically a printmaking factory, so I also always liked the irony of me going into printmaking as an artform.”

Hibbs first started college at Saint Francis University with a concentration in ceramics, but quickly discovered he was more passionate about printmaking, he said. His progress was halted when he lost a loan and was forced to leave Saint Francis. Hibbs stopped making art for two years. Then he started college again, this time at IPFW.

“When I stopped, I had all the materials and abilities to make art, but I didn’t,” Hibbs said. “That was a depressing time for me, so when I came here I was kind of in the same mindset. When I started taking classes here, I really got my passion back. From there, I kind of realized that I could turn how I felt and what I’m passionate about into art.”

Brenda Drayer said she has loved art and nature since childhood. It wasn’t until she was in her early 50s that she decided to pursue these passions by enrolling in the BFA program.

Drayer’s sculptures depict animal and human hybrids and are meant to be cautionary tales about the dangers of pollution and genetic modification.

“My aim was that the viewer can look at one piece they can connect with,” Drayer said. “All of the characters have human eyes, which I think is important because it gives them a soul. I want people to see that soul and I want it to spur conversations about how we treat our environment. If one piece does that for just one person, I’ll be happy.”

The work of Drayer, Hibbs and Morris and all the senior BFA students will be on display 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekends in the Visual Arts Gallery. Admission to the exhibit is free and open to the public.