Senior art students share talents in joint exhibit

Release Date: April 2, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – The culmination of four years of study at Wayland Baptist University will be on grand display for nine art students as they present their practicums in a joint exhibit in the Abraham Art Gallery.

On display now through May 1, the show features the work of nine very different artists, each bringing a unique set of talents and experiences to the table. Included in the exhibit are Michael Aker, Eric Bickel, Caylee Brewer, Eric Ellena, David Mancilla, David O’Brien, Ryan Oglesby, Kirby Raschke and Megan Wimberley.

“The senior practicum exhibition is considered the first professional exhibition of works by graduating student art majors. It is a presentation of representative works that best reflect the artistic strengths and original concepts of the artists,” said Dr. Candace Keller, professor of art and curator of the Abraham Gallery. “This collaborative exhibit offers the viewer a broad spectrum of visual statements regarding life and death, social issues, emotions, faith, family and the physical environment presented from nine highly divergent points of view.

“These nine young artists, in addition to being exceptional and talented individuals, are keen observers, critical thinkers, and creative voices for their generation, and I am confident that this first exhibition is only the beginning of their creative success.”

Aker, a senior from Fort Worth, said his art represents his belief that nonverbal communication is important, especially when the topic is difficult.

“I enjoy creating visual and stimulating artworks that deal with real life and cause the viewer to ponder on a subject and, hopefully, to approach their own perspective on the issues pertaining to my artwork,” Akers said.

A Plainview native, Bickel prefers to work in the digital arena, which he calls infinitely forgiving. He calls his show “Dreamscapes.”

“I found out that I could really flesh out my ideas without any worry of wasting canvas or running out of paint,” Bickel said. “By using digital techniques and a little imagination, I’ve created a collection of fantasy landscapes, abstractions and characters.”

Brewer is a Fort Sumner, N.M., native who prefers to work in acrylics as well as watercolors and conte crayon to create pieces that reflect real life whether the subject is fruit, portraits or landscapes.

“For me art is a release that is very freeing on all levels. I continually have ideas or images in my head that need to escape and get out, and they become my subject matter for new works,” Brewer said. “When the piece is finished successfully, it feels like sunshine bearing down on me through the clouds. I keep painting because I have grown to love the warmth of the sunshine.”

Another Plainview native, Ellena said his artwork might be described as macabre or strange, but in truth, it represents what’s on his mind.

“My art as a whole reflects the better part of the past ten years of my life, or at least the mind state I lived in throughout those years,” he said.

 Mancilla, a Floydada native, features work that draws heavily on the human figure and faces, and he admits his portfolio reflects heavily the people who inspire him. Musicians are often the subject – he did a series of paintings of the singer Pink – because he finds inspiration in music to be himself. Thus his work often reflects his own interpretation of the portraits.

“Painting for me is a process that allows me to express what I am feeling at that moment. I try to paint what I want and not what other people expect me to paint,” Mancilla said. “I find it exciting when I see the finished products of my own interpretations in my portraits. My new works are more personal and show who I really am.”

A Texas native raised in Wyoming, O’Brien’s portfolio reflects heavily the beauty of the world around him. He also credits his father Terrell, a professional artist, for influencing his love for western and wildlife art subjects.

“As a young child, the outdoors always fascinated me. Much of my inspiration comes from these two regions and the beauty within, mainly because it is what I have seen, what I know and what I hold dear to my heart,” he said. “Having lived by the green rocky mountain hills, mountains, meadows and beautiful Texas sunsets, I can’t help but think who’s behind it all. My Creator is the ultimate artist!”

 Oglesby, originally from Littlefield, particularly enjoys digital art, which allows him to remove imperfections.

“Something that a viewer can see in my work is that I pay close attention to the detail. This includes straight lines, smooth curves and making the little things look good,” he said.

A native of Lubbock, Raschke works in a variety of mediums and enjoys papers, inks and embossing techniques that enhance texture and


“Throughout my education at Wayland, I have come to greatly appreciate patterns, geometric shapes, and repetition as well as the use of colors to communicate feeling,” she said. “In the process of creating, I am drawn to certain characteristics in nature, architecture and design that I try to capture in my art. I have always had an affinity for interior, fashion, and graphic design, and I hope to incorporate all of these elements into my professional career in the future.”

Weatherford native Wimberley enjoys both painting and photography and says her goal as an artist is to be true to the subject matter. Sometimes that means creating a visual replica using realism or using exaggeration and distortion to recreate an emotion.

“Sometimes I create a piece specifically to evoke thought, and other times I just want the work to be aesthetically appealing. Each work is evolved and refined throughout the creative process,” she said. “This often leaves room for unique and sometimes unexpected changes. Sometimes the subjects dictate their own exploration and suggest directions for the work to take. This is a strange and wonderful relationship that makes every act of creativity an adventure.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular hours of the Abraham Gallery, located in the lower level of the Mabee Learning Resources Center: 10-5 Monday through Thursday, 10-4 Friday and 2-5 Saturday. For more information, contact the gallery at (806) 291-3710.