The Liberty University Art Gallery premiered “Genesis,” an exhibit displaying the works of senior studio art majors Sierra Clearwater, Emily Davis, Lindsey Foley, Ashleigh Weniger and Abby Wilson on March 29 in DeMoss 4069.
The senior art show is an annual event at Liberty that showcases graduating seniors talent and passion for art. According to Clearwater, this show is unique because its theme, “Genesis,” means more than the obvious.
“When the five of us were trying to think of a theme for the gallery, we came up with Genesis because of God’s creation being reflected in art,” Clearwater said. “But then we also wanted it to represent our own growth in our artwork from freshmen year to now.”
Clearwater said that all of her pieces are drip paintings and that one of the hardest parts about deciding what the paintings would be was deciding what medium she wanted to use.
“We all had to pick a medium and stick with it,” Clearwater said. “It helps to show unity within the individual pieces.”
The other seniors’ artwork ranged from acrylic paint, to pallet knives, to digital photography — a medium unforged prior to this year’s event.
“I chose to do digital photos of people because I love painting in Photoshop, and I wanted a consistent theme,” Lindsey Foley said. “This is a complicated technique but has beautiful end results. It’s basically taking a picture and turning it into a painting.”
Many of the seniors said they were inspired to major in art as a result of an art teacher in high school that made a difference in the way they viewed art. Weniger was one of these students.
“My passion for art happened in high school,” Weniger said. “I could see my teacher’s passion for art, and I think her passion is what made me realize I wanted to pursue a career in the field.”
Smith agrees that a career in studio art is a worthy calling.
“Jesus had the right concept,” Smith said. “He was a creator here on earth for his occupation. He was a carpenter who created things for people, and that’s how he made a living. He could have snapped his fingers and made a chair, but he didn’t. He understood the importance of the process of creating something.”
Smith said he tells his students that everything on earth is from the Creator and that all of creation is an expression of who God is.
“I think what makes this exhibit so unique is that all of the students are Christians,” Smith said. “I really believe that what you see in their paintings is a reflection of the students themselves.”
The Genesis Senior Art Expo was the first exhibit to premiere in Liberty’s new art gallery.
The gallery moved from its previous location in SLAB Hall to room 4069 in DeMoss Hall along with the rest of the Visual Communication Arts classes. According to Smith, the new gallery is approximately 1500 square feet, much more spacious than the old gallery which was only 1140 square feet. The new gallery also has more lighting and an up to date security system.
“The gallery acts as an education venue for students in that it provides the opportunity to see artwork in person, as well as interact with the artists who create the work. It is also one of the cultural centers of the university, (as) the gallery regularly hosts exhibits by nationally known artists each fall,” Smith said.