Two University of Indianapolis seniors will contribute their own works of art to Indianapolis Art Center’s 2018 College Invitational Exhibition. The show, which happens twice a year, features work from artists currently enrolled in various art degree programs throughout Indiana.
Senior pre-art therapy major Nicole Hopf’s piece, “A Collection of Memories,”will be featured in the upcoming exhibition. Hopf said that she made the piece when she was a junior taking a course focused on three dimensional art. The assignment, Hopf said, was to incorporate into the work something from the past that the artist believes should be brought to the future.
“They [the professors] wanted you to bring back a thing, an object or something that has kind of faded out that you want to draw attention to. So I did developing photos since most people keep them on their phone or whatever,” Hopf said. “I did a bunch of Polaroids just kind of hanging [in the box], then I did some clouds to represent saving your photos to the Cloud. So that’s the piece itself.”
Hopf’s piece is a box containing various items such as Polaroid photos and other aesthetic elements. She said that the project was inspired by the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo, where families create altars meant to celebrate the dead and welcome their returning spirits to Earth. Rather than creating a piece to honor deceased relatives, however, Hopf said she chose to commemorate places she has been using photographs within what she described as a “found objects piece.”
“All of the photos in there are nature-based, because it’s places where I’ve been and experienced things,” Hopf said. “I didn’t put any people in there because I thought it might make them feel weird. So it’s all very nature-based and ambiguous.”
Although Hopf’s piece was a “found objects” piece, a variety of mediums were accepted into the exhibition, including photographs, which is what senior pre-art therapy major Paige Stratton submitted. Stratton has a studio concentration in photography and used her knowledge of the medium to create her piece “difficult to hide,” which will also be shown in the Indianapolis Art Center exhibition. Stratton’s work was created using digital photography and is a self-portrait of herself, nude, seated on a couch.
According to Stratton, the photo was part of a larger project titled “The Weight I Carry,” during which she began to examine her own self-image and celebrate parts of herself she struggled to accept.
“It’s about my relationship with my body in terms of self-image and self-confidence and me expressing vulnerability in the place that I live, and how that is important to me to accept myself in order to show other people that we have all been made to feel insignificant at some point,” Stratton said. “In every photo I’m in the nude, and I ask people to look at the photos with reflection in mind, looking at similarities rather than differences because we’ve all been made to feel insecure or have wanted to change ourselves.”
Stratton said that her work was influenced by an artist who was shown to her by a photography professor. The artist, Jen Davis, conveyed similar themes to those that Stratton was interested in and inspired her to experiment with her own work.
“My photo teacher, Sara Pfohl, she showed me an artist, her name was Jen Davis,” Stratton said. “And Jen Davis did self-portraits over the course of 11 years of her changing body, because she was also an obese woman. And she showed her journey through weight loss surgery, and it was really cool seeing someone of my size and stature baring all for exhibitions… and showing that journey of vulnerability and self confidence.”
The exhibition is part of the Spring Exhibition series at the Indianapolis Art Center and features 24 total artists. The group showcase is open to the public until June 13 at the IAC’s Churchman-Fehsenfeld Gallery.