Studio art students venture into introspection with ‘Autopraxeology’ exhibit

Studio art students venture into introspection with ‘Autopraxeology’ exhibit

Studio art students venture into introspection with ‘Autopraxeology’ exhibit
November 14
21:41 2017

If the word “autopraxeology” doesn’t sound like a real word to you, that is because it isn’t.

The term was created when UNT studio art students in their capstone class voted on the idea of self-reflection for their next art exhibit.

The students crafted the title themselves, with “auto” meaning “self” and “praxeology” meaning “the study of human action.” This topic was completely dependent upon the students themselves and their own inspirations. Every piece of art shown in the exhibit was different from the next, including pieces by Anika Major and Melissa Bradley, both of whom are seniors double majoring in ceramics and drawing and painting.

“We spent a lot of the semester preparing in different ways,” Major said.

The idea was chosen in mid-September and was presented on Nov. 8-11. The Lightwell Gallery on the first floor of the College of Visual Arts and Design building housed the variety of students’ creations, each one of them showing the individuality of the artist.

Major and Bradley were just two of the students involved in the show.

Although Major and Bradley have known each other since high school, they both have developed a preference in different forms of media.

Major is primarily specializing in figure art, and she considers people her main inspiration.

“As a figurative artist, I look to people, and I try to look at people I know and meet,” Majors said. “There’s enough difference in all of us that I don’t need to make it up.”

Melissa Bradley, a senior double majoring in ceramics and drawing and painting, exhibits a piece titled “Be Gentle With Me,” is displayed in the Lightwell Art Gallery for the 2017 Autopraxeology art exhibition. Bradley’s piece is made from mixed media ceramics. Sarah Schreiner

For the Autopraxeology exhibit, Major said her piece is self-reflexive as it tells her habits about needing to fuss with skin. She chose to represent a part of the body which may often be overlooked in art—the ears. Her work touches on small habits people may not even realize they have.

“It was a habit I had as a kid, and I would do all the time — rolling and folding my ears,” Major said. “My mom thought it was endearing and saw it as a habit of mine.”

Majors’ knowledge and interest in art began when she was young, and her mom painted as a hobby.

“Whenever me and my sister showed an inclination for art, she really encouraged us to pursue it,” Major said. “All throughout middle school and high school I entered a lot of art-related positions. I was encouraged to enter into all the art-related things possible.”

Bradley has developed a preference for working with ceramics and crafting abstract pieces of art. She said she particularly likes working with geometric forms.

“I was thinking about how people interact with each other,” Bradley said. “I work pretty abstractly, and I’m really attracted to round forms.”

Bradley’s contribution to the Autopraxeology exhibit shows three rounded forms connected by string as a light radiates from inside them. She said her work deals with the connection — or the absence thereof — between people.

“What I think about when I make things is that I have trouble communicating with people I’m close with,” Bradley said. “I keep things hidden.”

Major and Bradley have been involved in art the entirety of their lives. This is their second-to-last semester at UNT, and they look forward to turning their passions into careers.

Studio art senior CJ Porras is another student contributing to Autopraxeology. His artwork is the largest installment in the room, although it is not always easily seen.

Porras’ work involves augmented reality. For his work, people must stand in front of a television and observe the room they are standing in. As the 360-degree camera pans over, it shows the tower of colorful blocks hovering above the gallery reaching for the sky.

Porras’ concentration in studio art is new media, which is technology-based.

“I’m really interested in working with cutting-edge technology,” Porras said.  “I’ve been working in the virtual reality and augmented reality realm.”

He uses technology like Google tilt brush VR, 360-degree cameras, game engines and various other types of new media. After being introduced to the technology last year, he began investing in new equipment and began brainstorming ideas for his project.

“There’s really a lot of pressure to figure out what you want to do,” Porras said. “You’ve made a lot of projects over the year, and now you have to choose what you’re into and how you define yourself as an artist.”

Porras’ artwork was a deconstruction of his past three years at UNT. The blocks represented different elements and acted almost as a connect-the-dots.

Porras likes to work with different environments and spaces, like the Lightwell Gallery. He said the whole world feels like his canvas.

“That’s what artists want to do,” Porras said. “They want to paint the world, and now we can kind of do it.”

Featured Image: Melissa Bradley and Anika Major, seniors double majoring in ceramics and drawing and painting, feature their art in the 2017 Autopraxeology art exhibition held from Nov. 8-11 in the Lightwell Art Gallery. The Autopraxeology art exhibition was put together by the 2017 Fall Professional Practice class and focused on aspects of one’s self, internal reflection and interaction with the world. Sarah Schreiner

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Anna Orr

Anna Orr

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