Story by Anna Johns, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Yashowanto Ghosh / The Saint
The 2021 BFA Show is on display at The Art & Music Center Gallery featuring art from graduating students Kitty Hoffman, Jamey Limbers, and Katherine Duffrin.
Kitty Hoffman has always been inspired by comics, cartoons, and natural objects such as rocks and shells. For her B.F.A show she created a collection of cute and happy characters inspired by her own imagination.
“I have a very specific illustrative, whimsical art style that transfers easily from one medium to another,” said Hoffman. “These past few years, I have focused on making ceramic creature sculptures based off of simple watercolor paintings that I made.”
Each creature Hoffman creates starts as a watercolor painting. They each have their own personality and backstory. The figures are sculpted from terracotta clay, then painted with acrylic paint, and are finished with clear matte paint. She is very experiential in her work and tries to make the color bright and opaque.
Jamey Limbers has a background in construction that has greatly influenced his work. In the past, he built homes for low-income families through government programs. He finds that ceramics have similar qualities to construction. For his large-scale pots, he builds them in sections just as a building is constructed one floor at a time. The flowers on the pots represent buildings that have been taken back by nature and left to decay.
“The flowered pottery is a representation of an individual’s ability to secure housing for themselves and their family. The availability of housing for Americans is not an equal opportunity for all, and those that are not born into the white society of the U.S. find themselves blocked by income accessibility, food insecurity, and voter suppression,” said Limbers.
When he worked in construction, he found that affordable housing was not obtainable for many Americans and that many of the housing developments were neglected. Many families were left living in dilapidated buildings that were overrun by moss and plants.
Another part of Limber’s work is his pit-fired pottery. The pit-fired pottery was done in part with the Aquinas Summer Scholars Program which he participated in during the summer of 2020 alongside ceramics Professor Madeline Kaczmarczyk. Together the two of them dug up clay locally and used traditional pit-firing techniques. Pit-firing is a process that dates back to as early as 29,000–25,000 BCE. The process is done by digging a hole in the ground or using a pit. The pots are placed in the pit and burned. The atmospheric process allows the colors and patterns to form from what is consumed in the fire. This is one of Limber’s favorite techniques because it mixes traditional pit fire techniques with chemistry and creates dynamic surface decorations on the pots. He created a proprietorial pit kiln at his studio that allowed him to create his unique vessels.
Over the past year, the pandemic has left many feeling distant and dissociated from reality. For the past six months, Katherine Duffrin has been working on her BFA show reflecting the difficult struggles she faced over the past year.
The color scheme in her paintings is repeated throughout her series. She chose the colors red, white, and black because of their personal meanings to her. In her series, the color red is present in the form of fabric. The color represents how fears interrupt daily routines. The color black mainly acts as a background and symbolizes anxiety and paranoia. White was used in softer areas of the composition to represent familiarity and hope.
“I wouldn’t call the paintings pleasant or ‘beautiful,’ but rather confusing and perhaps anxiety-inducing,” said Duffin. “While the paintings are not detailed or remarkable in traditional ways, my focus is on the mood or feeling that it portrays.”
As an artist, Duffrin wishes not to give too much insight into the meaning of her paintings because she wants the audience to be able to interpret them alone.