Arts & Culture / Mosaic / May 20, 2010

Symbols and scale in senior shows

The fourth senior studio art show, an experience that professor of art Mark Holmes described as “model[ing] after a graduate school experience,” took place this past Friday as seniors Kurtis Schaper and Tyler Hopfauf talked about their influences, their evolution as artists and the works they spent the better part of winter term creating.

Schaper, whose work opened the show, made heavy use of paper.

“I consider myself a new media printmaker,” he said, noting the heavy use of lines and circles in his work. He used the juxtaposition of these shapes in combination with extensive layering and texturing of paper to create a feeling of chaos. Schaper explained that his work was “asking the viewer to shift through the symbols to find stability in a deteriorating world.”

One of Schaper’s pieces involved a total of 8,127 prints, each representing a day and covering over 600 square feet of walls. Despite the enormity of the project, Schaper realized even something this extensive could never sum up a life.

“Perhaps if I had a print for every minute of my life,” he said.

Hopfauf, who was next to present, chose to work in a very different medium, employing heavy metals and concrete and using techniques such as welding.

“I asked myself what it meant for me to be an artist,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m an artist. I think I am more of a fabricator, a maker, a creator.”

Hopfauf was faced with the challenge of making the audience see that materials such as concrete could in fact be art. He explored extensively with color and eventually, as his work began to take a more architectural turn, began to make models.

“What would it be like to live in a house with all circular walls? What if your roofs are not flat? I began to think like that,” he said.

For Hopfauf’s open studio experience, “models weren’t enough anymore. I needed to work bigger.”

Hopfauf’s work grew to a lifelike scale as he developed small portable houses and a shelter for bikes that also served as art. He envisioned the houses being given to a city and scattered about for various uses, such as offering shelter to the homeless. According to Hopfauf, people could use “a space to get away from the ambient noise of a city.”

The work in studio art shows is created in the open studio class that takes place each winter term and is a requirement for all senior art majors.

Katy Sutcliffe

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