Beasley Gallery brings closing to graduating students
Matagi Sorensen is a senior metalsmith major at NAU. Between designing jewelry for school and creating jewelry to make a living, Sorensen has put nearly 60 hours a week into his art. Now, a couple of weeks before graduating, Sorensen will showcase his art at the semi-annual BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art) Exhibition. Sorensen, alongside other graduating fine arts majors, will display his art in the Beasley Gallery from April 26 to 29.
The graduating students have built their own exhibitions from the ground up. During their last two semesters at NAU, the students have gone through an intensive study meeting with faculty members for critiques and advice, developed a personal artist statement, and created themes for their work.
The theme of Sorensen’s work is also its name, “hollow body of work.”
“[A year and a half ago] I was working on this hollow piece, and Milly Haeuptle [one of my instructors,] suggested that I make it a theme,” Sorensen said. “I kept that in the back of my head as I worked on my pieces, and as I got closer [to creating the exhibit], I decided to make that my theme.”
Sorensen will share the gallery with other metalsmiths and a painter. He said each artist has a distinct style that sets them apart from each other.
“Most of the pieces in my BFA show are high-end hollow forms,” Sorensen said. “All of my pieces are silver; some are a mixture of metals—either silver and gold, silver and brass, or silver and copper. Some pieces I have been working on for over two years, and some I have created during this semester. I enjoy silver because I like the cleanness of it, and that quality fits with my style.”
To art students, creating their capstone final exhibition isn’t just a grade. Some see it as a final closing to their years of hard work at NAU. And some, like Sorensen, view it as more important than graduating. In his eyes, everyone at NAU can graduate, but not everyone gets the chance to put on their own show.
As artists, the graduating fine art students aspire to have many shows throughout their careers, and the Beasley Gallery BFA Exhibition is a great way to practice for that aspect of their professional lives.
“Each day as I make something, I try to think of how I’m going to use it later,” Sorensen said. “The gallery [experience] is my first time setting up a cohesive show, and so, to me, it’s kind of about learning how to do that, and learning what people are looking for, [as well as] hearing their criticism. It’s not just about making my work, but also about delivering it. That’s what I’m taking [from the BFA exhibition], for future shows.”
The capstone exhibit is also beneficial to future graduating students within the Fine Arts program. Tolley Rippon, a freshman ceramics major, said he will go to the BFA show to compare his work with his graduating peers.
“[The BFA show] is an amazing event to go to as well as an amazing opportunity for the graduates,” Rippon said. “[The senior work] shows me where I should be at with my skills by the time I graduate.”
After graduation Sorensen plans to continue his art.
“I love being an artist, and there is nothing else I would be happy doing,” Sorensen said. “I feel I owe it to myself, and even more so, as an example to my daughter, to be happy doing work I love. I plan on continuing to make and sell my art.”
The exhibition will be open April 26 through 29 in the Beasley Gallery. The closing reception will be held April 29 from 5 to 7 p.m.
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