Time to Reflect

Ohio Wesleyan Graduating Seniors to Present ‘11:11’ Art Exhibition

By Cole Hatcher

This ceramic bowl by Ohio Wesleyan fine arts major Nicholas Tobias of St. Louis, Missouri, is one of the pieces that will be displayed April 14-May 12 during the annual graduating senior exhibition. (Photo courtesy of Nicholas Tobias)

DELAWARE, Ohio – As the clock counts down to commencement, Ohio Wesleyan University graduating seniors are reflecting on their student experiences in “11:11” – an exhibition of juried works on display at both the Richard M. Ross Art Museum and the Werner Student Art Gallery.

The annual senior show will open with dual receptions from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. April 14 at the museum, 60 S. Sandusky St., and at the student art gallery at Edgar Hall, 35 S. Sandusky St., Delaware.

Featuring works chosen by a jury of Ohio Wesleyan fine arts faculty, “11:11” will run through noon May 12 – when the student-artists don caps and gowns for their 1 p.m. commencement ceremony.

Graduating senior Shelby Ksiazek said the exhibit’s title has many positive meanings for the 11 participating students.

“The meaning behind ‘11:11’ is that it’s a sign of good luck and time for intention-making in order to manifest for your highest good and for those around you,” said Ksiazek, chair of the student show. “Others read it as a call to action and using what we learned as a foundation for what we want to do and who we want to be in the next stage of life. It’s a time of peace and meditation that projects us into rightful order and intentional action.”

In addition to “11:11,” the Ross Art Museum will feature two concurrent exhibits by Columbus-based professional artists. Queen Brooks will present “When the Muses Speak,” including a new outdoor mural, and Michael Kellner will present “Everything Is Possible,” an exploration of music and sound and their relation to what we can see and touch.

Graduating Ohio Wesleyan students participating in “11:11” include seven fine arts, studio art, or art history majors exhibiting at the Ross and four seniors with studio art minors or other special interests exhibiting at the Werner gallery.

At the Ross Art Museum:

Mariah Chery of Sidney, Ohio, a fine arts major with concentrations in printmaking and computer imaging. “In my two-dimensional works I uncover my own identity. Through the additive and subtractive properties of the printmaking process, I draw out the raw qualities of a timeless medium. ... The biggest inspirations for my utilization of drypoint to execute my prints are Mary Cassatt and her emphasis on closeness, and Käthe Kollwitz with her irrefutable frankness.”

Margaux Hackett of Cincinnati, Ohio, a fine arts major with concentrations in drawing and sculpture. “I am interested in the human form and the beauty of it, particularly in an abstracted way. I have an interest in abstract design and ways to incorporate it into other media whether through figure [drawing] or three-dimensional objects such as ceramic work and sculpture.”

Natasha Heusinger of Hampton, Virginia, a fine arts major with a concentration in ceramics. “Growing up in a military family, I’ve never stayed in one place for more than four years. Ceramics gave me the opportunity to create something permanent and stable, as once the clay has been fired, that’s it. … I combine throwing and personal drawings, such as people, places and animals that are important to me, and experiment with colors that resonate with me. … [B]y bringing in a personal touch, I am able to embed a part of me into everything that I make.”

Shelby Ksiazek of Littleton, Colorado, a fine arts major with concentrations in figure drawing and photography. “[A]rt is at the core of who I am. I needed to bloom wherever I was planted, and art allowed me to do that. It provided me an escape from the happy facade that I put on every day. It allowed me to be honest, open and truly express daily struggles in a way that words could not.”

Nicholas Tobias of St. Louis, Missouri, a fine arts major with a concentration in ceramics. “[W]orking with clay tests your limits and how far you want push yourself because nothing is certain when you are dealing with clay. … The randomness beauty helped me be more critical of my bowls, jars, and teapots that I created on the wheel. Once I gave into the randomness, my bowls, jars, and teapots started to show a beauty back that I will never get tired of creating.”

Corrine Race of Briarcliff Manor, New York, an art history and psychology double-major with an interest in photography. During her four years at Ohio Wesleyan, “Corrine’s love for the processes of art has grown and studio time is focused mainly in the photography realm. Her Diptych Series focuses more on herself and her interactions with the world around her, providing a type of visual journal. She hopes that people are able to interpret her work on a deeper level than at first glance.”

Rachel Spotts of Cleveland, Ohio, a chemistry and studio arts double-major with a concentration in ceramics. “As I sit at the wheel, I like the tactility and the malleability of the clay. I like the cool feelings in my hands as I push and pull the clay into form. I like how I am able to form the clay with a simple move as the clay spins. … My pieces in ceramics exemplify practicality and functionality; I enjoy focusing on ergonomics for the individual.”

At the Werner Student Art Gallery:

Jenna Chambers of Saugatuck, Michigan, an international studies and German double-major and a studio arts minor with concentrations in ceramics and drawing. “There is something incredibly quiet about clay. Maybe it’s the earthy texture from the soil, or perhaps it’s the perspective that comes from spending time with it. … Clay can be incredibly frustrating, unspeakably cathartic, and enrapturing in its process. It’s a relationship I am always going to treasure.”

Syed Abuzar Raza of Islamabad, Pakistan, a management economics major and studio arts minor with concentrations in drawing and painting. “Patterns, shapes, textures and natural form inspire me to showcase the indecencies we constantly see in our society. I’m obsessed with textures and the natural aesthetic of a piece of art. I often relate to the vibrancy of life, within repeated strokes and gestures presented through my rough and expressive work. I tend to work on wooden surfaces and textured materials, adding graphite and charcoal darks, with paint as the finishing touches of light.”

Ellen Sizer of Cincinnati, Ohio, a geology major with interests in photography, drawing, and jewelry-making. “My photographs and drawings focus on the textures made visible by translating the experience of those textures through flat visual forms. ... This investigation translates into my geology major; there is an overwhelming focus on texture and said texture’s origin.”

Andrew “Mac” Willard of Charlotte, North Carolina, a psychology major with an interest in photography. His “passions include analyzing light and shadow through the lens, as well as the multiple ways in which color interacts with his subjects at different points of the day. … His most current work investigates his electrifying emotions concerning his closest friendships, denoted by a utilization of color and light, focusing on the face and the many expressions that individuals demonstrate.”

During the academic year, the 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 14 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.

The Werner Student Art Gallery, located on the first floor of Edgar Hall, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends by special request. For more information, contact (740) 368-3607.

Created in 1864, Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Fine Arts was one of America’s first college art departments. Today, it offers both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degrees. Learn more about the department, its majors and minors, and its faculty 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 more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.