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2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition

May 25 - June 18, 2006

Bachelor of Fine Arts degree candidates:
Amy Buchheit, Ogaenia I. Calkins, Shelley Chamberlin, Patty Coatney-Ellenbecker, Michelle Daly, Marnie Frank and Kelly Orr.

The Marylhurst University BFA Program
The goal of the Marylhurst University Art Thesis program is to assist the senior-level student in the development of a coherent body of professional-level work. The thesis project has two components: studio work and a thesis report. The written proposal is developed in the fall and evolves over the winter and spring terms into a paper that discusses studio work progress from conception to completion. A thesis committee, made up of three art faculty members, critiques the student's progress at each stage. The studio work progresses fall and winter terms and is completed in the spring. At that time the work is subject to final review, is photographed, prepared for installation and installed in The Art Gym.

2006 BFA Thesis Candidates
Amy Buchheit's still life paintings explore both the innocence and thwarted innocence that childhood play often reveals. Buchheit creates this affect by posing toys, most of which derive from cartoons and animated films, in disturbing poses and combinations. Scooby Doo, Baby Piggy, Bambi and Barbie menace one another or appear in poses that suggest they are recent victims of something sinister. These small-scale acrylics are executed on canvas board and have a flatness and separation of colors that remind one not only of the animations they reference, but also of craft store paint-by-number kits gone awry.

Ogaenia I. Calkins makes abstract steel sculptures. Most of these artworks can be configured and re-configured. In Pod, for example, five similar geometric forms that progress in size from two feet to ten feet can all be nested within the largest unit or spread out in a series of relationships. Like numbers in a matrix or individuals in a social setting, Calkins' welded objects are complete unto themselves, but also function in shifting relationships to members of a group.

Over the course of the thesis year, Shelley Chamberlin has made close to 100 works on paper. In each artwork – some as small as playing cards – the artist collaged the silhouette or shadow of a figure beside or in front of a rectangle filled with delicate etched lines. Chamberlin's quiet and understated images evoke considerations of presence and absence, longing and loss.

Patty Coatney-Ellenbecker has made a series of oil on canvas paintings that invite the viewer to consider how, in the rush and preoccupations of contemporary life, people often become invisible to those around them. She writes: "Empathy draws me to the subjects in my work, and that empathy comes from experiencing invisibility in my own life. As a gay person in our culture, I have been invisible, first to myself and then to others."

Michelle Daly is interested in the process of making abstract paintings – finding and inventing shapes, making changes in composition, and working toward a point where the work is "resolved, but just barely." Her work is also, in part, a metaphor for how things that may appear to be incongruous can fit together. She writes that she is working toward a concept of beauty that is both elusive and complex, and that she is inclined to find beauty in the "space between things, or the relationship of one color to another." Daly's paintings are made with a combination of oil and wax medium on canvas.

Marnie Frank had a career in the mental health profession before she entered the BFA program at Marylhurst University. She brings a concern for individuals and community to her thesis project. Her oil paintings create a portrait of her Sellwood community, more specifically a record of individuals at particular moments in time. She has used the project as an opportunity to notice the activities of children, the coming and going of strangers, and get to know several homeless people who share the neighborhood.

Kelly Orr combines many printmaking processes, including etching, drypoint, soft and hard grounds, calligraphs, photo etching and aquatint to make prints. In much of her work, she transforms those prints through collage and mixed media, sometimes tearing prints into fragments in order to create new works. Adhered with beeswax, layered with cheesecloth and thread, these collages present delicate and translucent abstractions for the viewer's consideration. Orr is interested in the relationship of her work to nature, and the potential metaphors suggested by her imagery and process. In her thesis statement, she writes: "Nature's intrinsic function is to maintain equilibrium through a series of intricate, structural (chemical, biochemical, etc.) patterns, both internal and external."

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