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BFAs tackle social issues in senior projects

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With commencement less than four weeks away, art students want to have one final say through their artwork before they leave Ohio State.

The work of 44 undergraduates is included in the Department of Art’s exhibition of its Bachelor of Fine Art senior projects.

Rebecca Harvey, interim chair and professor in the Department of Art, said the exhibition is a chance for students to display what they have learned.

“Art gains power from being visible. That’s what sets up the dialogue and connection with the world,” she said. “It makes perfect sense that the culmination of the degree is this very important, very significant public exhibition.”

Kelly Roderick, a seventh-year in photography, hopes her piece “The Stronger” encourages conversation about how women’s bodies are viewed.

Roderick places life-size portraits of female athletes in athletic gear next to smaller portraits of them in formal wear.

“That’s the idea. You are seeing these girls life-size, and you are seeing really what their bodies are like life-size, and that’s confronting the viewer,” Roderick said. “And it’s in their face and actual size, and that these females have incredible bodies for what they do, and they built these bodies with their specialty, their, whatever activity that they’re doing.”

The smaller portraits’ size is supposed to give viewers a feeling of an advertisement, Roderick said.

“The lifestyle portrait is me taking these females, with the body they’ve created, and putting them into a stereotypical scenario, or just a media driven scenario that we see every single day,” she said. “I’m proposing that question of having those two together, and asking people how that makes them feel.”

Terry Moore uses 255 shades of gray in her print, “0-255,” to address colorism in the black community.

“If you are of lighter skin, you are deemed more valuable, or pretty,” said Moore, a fifth-year in photography. “I would like to bring that conversation up with people.”

Moore said the title of her piece comes from the 255 shades on Photoshop’s grayscale. “0” represents the color black and “255” represents white.

Moore said she wanted to take on the connotations of lightness by editing the gray scale gradient onto her skin in a series of 255 edits of her profile. Each portrait uses a different shade of gray, and she hopes the piece encourages conversation.

“(I’m) not necessarily trying to get people to feel a certain way, but to kind of think about this unconscious way we interpret people by their skin color in terms of value or worth,” she said.

The exhibit is set to show Saturday through May 9 at the Urban Arts Space. Admission is free and open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with extended hours on Thursday until 8 p.m. There will also be a reception on May 9 from 3 to 5 p.m.

Editor’s note: Kelly Roderick is a photographer for The Lantern.

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