A celebration of graduating artists

Annual exhibition at The Gallery at UTA showcases art from graduating BFA students

Thursday, Dec 21, 2023 • Cristal Gonzalez : contact

Forty-seven students who graduated this month with Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degrees from The University of Texas at Arlington showcased their work at The Gallery at UTA. The exhibit featured a wide variety of BFA concentrations, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture, glass, ceramics, cinematic arts and visual communication design.

Samuel Cusack

One of Samuel Cusack’s main wheelhouses is jumbled work with lots of strange objects. This becomes clear through his four pieces on display: “Mound”; “Disintegrate”;” The Land is Dead: Things Fight Over It Still”; and “Gruesome Face, Countless Others Too.”

“Some of this work could be considered disturbing or strange. There are a lot of things here, and it’s just very ominous,” Cusack said. “I like to convey energy traveling somewhere, and I do that through large and dark spherical movements and stipple.”

Herbert Roland’s “Rehabilitation” explores what the brain goes through after a stroke. Last December, his mother suffered a stroke, and he wanted to show the process of rehabilitation and the forms of therapy taken to recover the body and the brain.

Herbert Roland

“The pipe cleaners are big scribbles in the brain. It’s what I see when my mom tries to say something. She knows what she wants to say, but can’t quite get it out,” Roland said. “The plaster castings of the feet are to simulate going in a loop to learn basic and simple skills all over again. I wanted viewers to feel how she feels by repeating motions over and over again to learn basic human functions, like walking.”

“Rehabilitation” represents reconnection, reforming and reuniting. It’s an homage to Roland’s mother.

“The clamor being made about the piece and being heard in the room is telling of what is going on in her brain,” Roland continued. “There are so many voices, but you can’t really tell what anyone is saying.”

August Jordan Davis, chair of the Department of Art and Art History and director of The Gallery at UTA, said the exhibition celebrates the graduating students’ time at UTA.

“The professional exhibition in The Gallery at UTA is the first public debut for many of these artists and designers and launches them into their new role as professional creatives,” Davis said. “It is a chance to come together and reflect on how they have blossomed in their imaginative and innovative creations, and it is my favorite moment of each semester in the Department of Art and Art History."