Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Fine Arts Majors to Hold Senior Show

March 24, 2016 – by Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan's 2016 senior art show, 'Relativity,' will feature works by 16 soon-to-be OWU graduates. The exhibition will open with an artist reception April 9.

Ross Art Museum Exhibition to Open with Saturday, April 9, Artist Reception

DELAWARE, Ohio – It’s all “Relativity” for 16 Ohio Wesleyan University graduating seniors as they celebrate their artistic “interconnectedness to the surrounding world” and share their works in a juried exhibition at OWU’s Richard M. Ross Art Museum.

The 2016 senior show, “Relativity,” will be on exhibit from April 9 through May 8 at the museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. It will open with a Saturday artist reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 9.

In explaining the group’s decision to title the exhibit “Relativity,” senior Catie Beach said the dictionary defines the term as “the dependence of various physical phenomena on relative motion of the observer and the observed objects, especially regarding the nature and behavior of light, space, time, and gravity.”

Broadening the concept to their art, Beach said, the soon-to-be OWU graduates determined that “perception depends on the position of objects and happenings around us. In connection to our show, the law of relativity describes our interconnectedness to the surrounding world. As artists, we interpret these perceptions through the media we use, focusing in on the phenomenon of human experience and imagination to inspire art.

“For some,” the graduating seniors said, “this drive comes from the materiality of metals, paints, clay, and inks we use in process. For others, the drive is innate to sensorial observations. The works in ‘Relativity’ showcase the variety of perspectives from individual artists, but also the unique culmination of peers working and learning alongside each other.”

All pieces in the exhibit are selected by a jury of Ohio Wesleyan fine arts faculty. Graduating seniors participating in the “Relativity” exhibition are:

Benjamin S. Anderson of Monterey, California. “I focus my painting on the idea of shapes, and the subject matter comes across as a byproduct in exploring shapes that interact and join with one another. … In printmaking, however, I feel that the subject matter drives the medium. Jazz musicians and drumming influence my printmaking in etching, lithography, and woodcut. … The artwork that I have created at OWU has furthered my understanding of fine art and has been pivotal in developing my path as an artist.”

Catie Beach of Columbus, Ohio. “My preference to highly rendered images reflects the complexity and depth in which I contemplate my subjects. I replicate and enhance moments which strike me as profound in daily life: the urban nature in our backyards, the people around us who enhance life. These moments of grace, as they appear to me, are compelling studies for an understanding of life’s cycle and vulnerability. Through the meditation on these moments, I seek solace in life.”

Kelsie Bell of Columbus, Ohio. “I respond to the physicality and process involved in ceramics and photography. It excites me to respond to the incidental occurrences out of my control, involved in the making process, and it is important to me that my hand is involved in as much of the work as possible. I want to make the ordinary resonate for viewers in a universal way.”

Sam Carpenter of Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. “I find myself attracted to sculpture and metalworking. … I hope to create forms and characters that are foreign, ethereal, and that illicit an uncomfortable or anxious feeling among the viewers, as I feel that those emotions open up doors of the mind that would otherwise be closed. I hope that in viewing these pieces, the audience can relate to me as an artist … but also attach the emotions that the piece displays to their own life and the lives of others around them.”

Andy Cumston of Marion, Ohio. “I have always been intrigued with objects that play with the balance between function and form. … I want to help express and demonstrate how things that have a sculptural presence can also have a functional meaning. To me, art is the expression of personal experience that tries to convey how (the artists) see the world and their personal being in this world throughout their work.”

Heather Dehaas of Perry, Ohio. “I live to share art with the future generations of the world. There is beauty in everything around us. Edgar Degas summarizes this beauty saying, ‘Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.’ Art offers a perspective that elevates this beauty and allows humanity to appreciate its surroundings. I aspire to share this vision by teaching art to younger minds.”

Michelle Hansen of Chicago, Illinois. “The dynamics of spaces and the people that inhabit them keep me wondering who was there before me and become an inspiration for my work. Through this inspiration, I focus on buildings, towns, and families interacting with their surroundings through my photography. The many ways that people define family have always intrigued me, and I use photography to explore the idea.”

Kelly Johnson of Wellesley, Massachusetts. “Through my work, I explore the connection between line and shape. I find myself fascinated by geometric designs. I am drawn to the concreteness of linear shapes and focus on the compositional dynamism of simple lines. In my more recent work, I explore curvilinear elements, which allow me to move beyond the comfort zone of my geometric aesthetic.”

Emily Keller of Ronkonkoma, New York. “I find myself fascinated with the fleeting quality of time – how minutes change to hours, days change to weeks, and months change to years. Because of this, I often create images relating to memory, recounting the intimate moments spent with my loved ones. … Although these works are quite personal to me, I believe that they can be relatable for others, evoking nostalgic sentiments for one’s own past.”

Owen Kelling of Morrow, Ohio. “My images are of humans, age, and fleeting light that I intend to exist between the frozen state of their exhibition and the ephemerality of their subject matter. Iron figures in particular, forbade to rust, will remain modeled in age but unaltered by time into a future beyond my own scope of time. My metalwork evokes that passage but wavers little amidst it, and I hope you the viewer find a steadiness in that company.”

Mara Mariotti of Oberlin, Ohio. “My art is a creation of my feelings and how I respond to the energy around me. … My artwork has transfigured from a fascination with earthly nature, realized in an abstract depiction of the nature of the human body. My 2-D works show an abstract view of the human body through the energy it creates. On the surface, my 3-D work portrays themes of flora and fauna, including an exploration of female sexuality.”

Lyssa Matzat of Greenwood, Indiana. “As a jewelry designer, my fascination with geometric shapes has evolved into a study of combining the angularity of the work itself and the soft features of the human body. I explore these contrasting features and test the limits of what can actually be worn on the human body while remaining true to its original purpose as a piece of body adornment.”

Jordana McCallen of Stonington, Connecticut. “Printmaking and casting share many similarities, employing processes that allow me to duplicate and manipulate form. I meet my media with innate motifs, exploring their relationship to the world around me, largely via the human body. In this way, I feel my work lies at various intersections, between past and present, fragile and durable, internal and external.”

Alex Reistenberg of Mason, Ohio. “Nature has a mind of its own and no matter how we try to control it, it always finds a way to break free and thrive. That is the beauty I try my best to emulate in my own work. I try to find a balance between stability and the natural flow of things. I love the surprises you get when you open the kiln and see that nothing has come out the way you thought it would. … I love working with techniques that allow this freedom and allow you to be surprised on a daily basis.”

Nyka Saldivar of Montclair, California. “Composition and light tends to be a unifying characteristic in my art, though the subject and style varies depending on my mood and state of mind. While I consider myself mainly a photographer, I continue to investigate these connections using other media, such as drawing, book arts, and ceramics, which allow me to slow down and analyze my responses to the world around me and consider the patterns of my stylistic choices.”

Maddie Stuntz of Delaware, Ohio. “In drawing, I tend to find my inspiration from people. There is something special in the energy of relationships, and I enjoy capturing these interactions or moments in my drawings. With ceramics and printmaking, I apply the shapes and colors I find in nature to my work. I’m inspired by the peace and calm I feel from the outdoors and try to convey these feelings in my pieces.”

During the academic year, Ohio Wesleyan’s Ross Art Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Monday and Saturday, with the exception of the upcoming April 9 artist reception. The facility is handicap-accessible and admission is always free. Call (740) 368-3606 or visit www.owu.edu/ross for more information.

Created in 1864, Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Fine Arts was one of America’s first college art departments. The university offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and majors are able to concentrate their studies in studio art, art history, or fine arts education. Learn more at www.owu.edu/finearts.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 87 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,675 students represent 43 U.S. states and territories and 33 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.