Senior art students blossom

EWU art seniors display capstone exhibition “How to Grow Roses”


Prints of “Shattered Beauty” by senior Antonina Lovyn are available for $68. Prismacolor, pencil and charcoal were used to create this | Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner

By Richard N. Clark IV, Social Media Director

On the ground floor of Brewster Hall in Cheney, the EWU Downtown Student Gallery is hosting the art senior capstone exhibition “How to Grow Roses” that started April 16.

The gallery will feature a variety of works from a group of 13 Studio Art majors ranging from 3-D prints and sculptures to traditional oil paintings. The work is selected, curated and installed in a group effort as part of the Art Senior Capstone course. The exhibition’s title is both a symbolic metaphor of the growth the students have made and a testament to their new beginnings as they graduate from EWU this upcoming spring.

“They’re learning the foundations of their professional practice as a studio artist,” said EWU art professor Jenny Hyde, who is in charge of overseeing the capstone class and art exhibition. “All the work represents their potential. They’re the roses and so we’re presenting their growth.”

The meaning behind each individual’s artwork goes much deeper.

Senior Antonina Lovyn, who comes from a family of artists, draws from her own life experiences for inspiration.

“I want people when they look at my art to relate,” Lovyn said. “We all have experienced depression before, or anxiety and being heartbroken or hurt. So I want people when they look at my art to think, ‘wow that’s exactly how I feel!’”

Lovyn has always had a passion for drawing but did not take it seriously until taking an art class in college. After being encouraged by friends and family to pursue her artwork, Lovyn will be graduating this spring with a Bachelor of Arts in both Human Resources and Studio Art.

Specializing in painting and drawing, Jonathan Stephan has two large 48-inch by 36-inch oil-on-canvas paintings in the exhibition. One of the two paintings, “Ocean Eye’s,” was inspired by a Billie Eilish song of the same name and displays a vibrant array of purple and gold.

“It’s a metaphor for falling too far in love,” Stephan said. “It’s just [a combination of] all the emotion and energy that I focus through myself and the music, as one of my filters.”

According to Stephan, it typically takes anywhere from six months to a year to paint a piece of this size, as he heavily layers his paintings to enrich the colors and add depth.

Stephan doesn’t stick to a particular color pallette and describes his style as organic and bold. Stephan will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art.

Some of the more unique, visually engaging artwork in the gallery will include senior Steven Bickham’s 3-D prints and his TV, which will be looping a mixed media project he created in Adobe After Effects CC.

Bickham describes his artistic style as bright, colorful and bold.

Another unique, visually engaging art piece is a shadow sculpture by Lisa Koep which consists solely of repurposed materials from a medieval-themed wedding.

Senior Lisa Koep’s shadow sculpture. The sculpture is made completely of repurposed material from a medieval themed wedding | Richard Clark IV for The Easterner

This special kind of sculpture requires a light to shine on it, casting a shadow on the wall behind it that depicts the true art piece. In this case, a witch burning, adding to its already unique nature.

Through the EWU Art Department, students are taught how to manage being a professional studio artist.

Hyde uses her experience to prepare students for life as an independent artist after college.

“It’s not really a profession that has guidelines,” said Hyde. “But now I’m trying to put guidelines to it so the students are prepared to manage their own creativity once they get outside of school.”

Some of the skills the students learn include how to write and pitch grants, properly present artwork at exhibitions and in general, manage themselves as their own boss.

Hyde has been creating and presenting art for over 20 years and has been teaching at EWU for eight years.

The EWU Downtown Student Gallery features artists with different levels of experience, showing both the work of students and internationally renowned artists from around the world.

This time, however, it will be highlighting the works of 13 seniors with as much variety of artwork as there is creativity.

“How to Grow Roses” will open April 16 and be on display through May 12.

There will be a closing reception May 10, starting at 4:30 p.m. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

The EWU Downtown Student Gallery is located in the lower level of Brewster Hall at 404 2nd St. in Cheney and is open Monday through Friday noon to 5 p.m.