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Art & Art History
University of Mississippi

Online Thesis Exhibitions

Spring 2022 BFA Thesis Exhibitions

We are highlighting a few photos of each student but you can view their full album on our Flickr page!
Be sure to click on the links as well!

Abigail Babaz: Sense of Self

Read our Q&A with Abigail here!

Artist Statement

I created this body of work to showcase human emotion and psychological contemplation from my subjects. Through my work, I challenge the idea of what traditional portrait paintings embody through a contemporary approach.

I believe, in modern-day society, we are caught in the middle of unprecedented times. I feel in this way, looking for deep emotional connection, having feelings of uncertainty, and searching for approval are everyday emotions society can relate to.

We long for connection to our own self but also to others; I feel there is a sense of urgency for this during these challenging times. Many people are worried about the unknown with life right now. Sickness, division, and societal pressures plague our everyday life. It can be easy to lose oneself, given the amount of pressure in today’s society. We are constantly pressured to conform and fall into society’s view of what is “right” and “normal” because we want approval. These issues are often what I think about when I think about the idea of psychological contemplation.

We often wear masks to cover up who we really are because we are afraid or perhaps insecure with our true selves. Masks may be makeup, clothing, or perhaps a hairstyle. We often cover up our true selves in other ways, possibly retreating away from society to our homes and intimate settings, further disconnecting ourselves from society. The disconnecting from society also forces contemplation of self within these private spaces. My paintings show the idea of psychological contemplation because these paintings are set in intimate settings where the public is normally not allowed in. I give the viewer a chance to see these individuals in their most private and secure havens.

When we meditate on these issues stated above, we understand the sorrowful, melancholy ideas that are attached. One experience that saves us from these saddening ideas would be connection to others. My paintings create an opportunity for conversations and silent reflections with the viewer.

Lindsay Martin: Future Nostalgia

Read our Q&A with Lindsay here!

Artist Statement

Ever get the feeling that you are living in a moment that is going to be one of those cherished memories that last forever? A time when you realize “this is it— one of the best moments of my life?” I found it hard to identify those moments in my life until about a year ago. With, what feels like, a never-ending pandemic, I developed a new perspective on life that I never realized I had. No longer taking my days for granted I was gifted with a new outlook, which I ultimately characterized as future nostalgia.

Nostalgia is a sentimental longing for a time that has passed that is generally associated with happy or timeless memories, and the future is a time that is still waiting to come. For me, future nostalgia was a way to characterize that feeling that you get when you are living in the moment and realize it is a memory that will stay with you forever before the moment is even over. The realization that days, weeks, months, or even years from that moment, you know you are going to look back on that memory and feel nostalgic for that time. The idea behind future nostalgia has allowed me to focus on being more present in my life, encourages me to live to the fullest, and has empowered me to flourish without any regret. Future nostalgia has provided me an opportunity to embrace and collect the little moments in life.

I wanted to be able to share this idea of future nostalgia with others through my artwork. To communicate the spirit of the brand I drew inspiration for the designs and color palette from the city of San Francisco. Living in the bay area, San Francisco was just a short drive away and through my years growing up, some of my most nostalgic memories are from trips to the city. The skate and art culture in San Francisco is notoriously impactful and I would like to think it has influenced me as an artist. Drawing from my own personal memories with the city, and inspired by the art and skate legacies already inherent with the culture of the city, it seemed appropriate to create a skate and lifestyle brand around these ideas.

Through bright colors and a fun design aesthetic, I hope to convey the idea of the brand to not only the skate community but anyone and everyone looking to uplift their perspective. Future Nostalgia was created to inspire others to live more presently and embrace the best moments in life, as they are unfolding before us.

Sadie Smith: SugarSpike Cocktails

Read our Q&A with Sadie here!

Artist Biography

My name is Sadie Smith! I’m a graphic designer with a passion for illustration and character design! I personally enjoy detailed work that is bright and saturated, with a focus on fantasy settings and monster girls.

Artist Statement

SugarSpike Cocktails is a woman-owned business with a primary focus of empowering other women to believe in themselves and project confidence. In a market where women rarely have a seat at the bar, SugarSpike aims to fill the void and was designed specifically for women who enjoy life and alcohol unapologetically. Taking ownership back from a space typically labeled as “girly drinks,” SugarSpike offers sophisticated and intricate cocktails in the convenience of a bottle.

Focused on drinks that are high in alcohol content yet sweet and refreshing to drink and enjoy, SugarSpike offers five distinct flavors. One of the signatures of the brand is conveniently having the drink layered as a cocktail ready to drink straight from the bottle. Every drink is stacked with four layers of alcohol that corresponds with the color palette of the characters to give each flavor a unique look. SugarSpike branding embraces femininity with fun and flirty characters that embody the individual drink flavors. Each design aims to be inclusive of all kinds of femininity and are diverse in their representation.

The brand uses color to grab the attention of the consumer and highlights the characters as the main design element and further illustrates the pride in celebrating their femininity. The brand currently has five flavors in the lineup, and the bottles are designed to highlight the bright colors to pull the consumer in, while the box is more subdued to accommodate the contrast. Large, 20×30″ illustrative posters were also developed that advertise each unique flavor with custom poses that accentuate each personality and flavor. The characters personify drink demons in a fiery setting supporting the “sinfully sweet” tagline. Each woman also represents the distinctive fruit flavor’s profile and defines a signature color palette for each. They work separately and together to further the message of women empowering each other and being confident in themselves. In a male-dominated industry littered with outdated standards around gender roles and parity within the design, SugarSpike strives to be a leader in the space adapting to equality and creating an opportunity for women’s voices to be heard.

Brianne Powers:

Read our Q&A with Brianne here!

Artist Statement

In this body of work, I focus on the relationship between the objects we use every day and the routines that we develop with those objects. These pieces create a sense of ritual when being used, generating a moment between the user and the piece when making coffee in the morning or seasoning food to serve to friends. These sets serve to enhance daily routine with added elements that enhance the functionality of the piece. These sets are constructed with organization and function in mind, adding spoon and lid rests for when the pieces are being used and often a tray to serve as a resting place for pieces not in use to maintain visual tidiness within the space it exists. I visualize this idea of organization and meticulous detail by creating controlled forms with a designation to each change of angle, as well as geometric surface design.

In my work, I am referencing De Stijl architecture and art with my use of geometric forms and designated areas of color, as well as traditional Japanese tea sets. My pieces are often salt-fired to create moments of visual interest in the salt’s interaction with the glaze and clay. By utilizing glazes with neutral colors and varying surface details such as crystallization, I create pieces that can exist in the user’s space but still draw in and hold the attention of the viewer when these details are discovered.

Anna Stone: Unworldly

Read our Q&A with Anna here!

Artist Biography

Anna Stone is an aspiring artist born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. For as long as she could remember, she loved creating art and that love grew exceedingly when she was diagnosed with dyslexia after which she began to use drawing and painting as a means to cope with the stress she felt while facing her academic difficulties. Her main focus is abstraction, where she paints unworldly imagery in bright vibrant colors. She is currently in her last semester at Ole Miss, earning her BFA degree in painting.

Artist Biography

Anna Stone
Abstraction can untether the recognizable world and create a new one. What led me to abstraction was how I see the natural world. For as long as I could remember, I have always had an eye for the small nuances of life. My mother always called me “a noticer” because everywhere I looked I would see and notice the small, beautiful details in the world around me that other people would just walk past without a second thought. Not only would I notice these small overlooked details but I would also think of them as another world entirely.

This is what I intend to do through my abstractions. I create abstract imagery that transports the viewer into entirely new worlds. While the imagery I depict is inspired by and drawn from the small details of daily life, I do not give any indication of what the original object or scenery is and recontextualize it into a new unworldly image. I use an indirect method of painting, utilizing thin layers of color to create an unusual interaction with color as they overlap. I accentuate complex imagery with striking color palettes to create visually pleasing imagery, yet equally perplexing to the viewer. This method of abstraction not only inhibits me to enhance these unrecognizable details of the world but it lets me create entirely new worlds.

Lauren Taylor: Ipseity

Read our Q&A with Lauren here!

Artist Biography

Lauren Taylor is a student at the University of Mississippi pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Graphic Design. She is from Denver, Colorado, but has roots in St. Louis, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois, and now calls Naples, Florida home. She is on the executive board for GRID, Ole Miss’ Graphic Design club, the leadership team for the Ole Miss chapter of Delight Ministries, a Christian community for college women, and is a designer for The Ole Miss yearbook. Deep conversations, the beach, listening to music, spending time with friends and family, DIY projects, cheering on the Rebels football team, and reading are some of her favorite things. She strives to bring glory to God through being kind, working hard, and using her talents to bring joy & light to the people around her.

Artist Statement

Ipseity is a coffee-table style book that integrates digital and print design and incorporates handmade elements and processes such as die-cuts, letterpress printing, gold foiling, hand-sewn bindings, and embroidery. Its design is rooted in minimalism, yet the handmade aspects, eye-catching color palette, and illustrations make reading Ipseity a visual and tactile experience. It is not only a publication to read and ponder, but it is an artful object with a physical presence to be visually appreciated and analyzed.

Ipseity’s content examines young adults’ relationship with their own concepts of identity and the things that might influence who we are, such as; faith, relationships, sense of place, others’ perceptions of us, our families, goals, and experiences. It is the exploration of defining selfhood in the midst of beginning adulthood. This collective experience is expressed through the eyes of many of my peers, who contributed personal reflections on their own experiences with defining their identity in the form of creative writings and poetry.

At the end of the book, I have included a QR code that links to a website where viewers can answer questions about what has influenced their own identity and the different ways in which they define themselves, so the viewers can become contributors to the project as well. Through Ipseity’s relatable content and tangible, handmade elements, I hope to create a welcoming, interactive, and collaborative experience that encourages exploration of the things that make us who we are.