BFA graduate Weslock celebrates with art show

The University Art Gallery is displaying a body of work from SVSU’s own Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students: Garrett Weslock.

Weslock is graduating this semester and his BFA focus is in ceramics.

According to Corey Gilbert, exhibitions coordinator, the BFA show is held as a “culmination of the student’s education, efforts, and work.”

The show is part of the requirements for any BFA student before they graduate.

The process to enter the program is also challenging, requiring an interested student to apply a year and a half before they’d like to graduate and present a portfolio to a selection committee.

Once chosen, the student then develops the ideas already in that portfolio with the guidance of two mentors in the program.

Graduating students also give a defense of their work.

“They really are looking for if you know how to talk about your art,” Weslock explained.

Although the BFA show is a frequent addition to the end of the semester events on campus, Weslock’s is unique in that his is a solo show.

“This is definitely something that hasn’t happened in a very long time where a student has a solo show,” Gilbert said. “Garrett was really able to play with the space of the gallery and focus on flow a lot more than usual.”

Gilbert said he was impressed by Weslock’s manipulation of the gallery despite having to learn to be more hands off than normal.

“I had to hand the reins over, which was challenging but [Garrett] did a great job,” he said. “It really showcases the evolution of his work in a very thoughtful way.”

Weslock also commented about the unique situation of being able to use the whole space and how that required him to work overtime to produce enough work to fill it.

“I was in the studio ten to twelve hours a day, five to six days a week,” he recalled. “Producing the work was like breathing.”

While production of the sculptures was easy, Weslock said that deciding what he wanted to say about his art was more of a challenge.

“I kept a journal to help keep my writing concise,” he said.

However, it all came together when he got to finally start setting up the works in the gallery space.

“I hadn’t realized how much work I’d done till then and it was like ‘holy crap’ there’s a lot of work here,” Weslock said.

According to him, much of his work had been completed in the last eight months.

Weslock’s goal with his artwork is comment on the nature of existence itself and his ideology that as humans, we are made of three parts: mind, body and soul.

“I did a lot of research on spirituality especially Indian spirituality and I want people to learn about that when they come,” Weslock said. “Most people don’t know about those ideas.”

To aid this idea, Weslock’s show is split into three parts: life, death and enlightenment, where he meshes several sculptural pieces that all discuss his themes.

His favorite though is the large center installation.

There are two tall sculptures, one black and one white, with tinier pieces all around to mimic a yin yang sign.

“I wanted to show the three elements of existence: mind, body, soul. The two tall pieces are whichever two of those the viewer perceives them as and then there is an open space for the viewer to stand so they become the third element,” Weslock explained.

“We don’t have enough culture in our lives,” Gilbert remarked. “Experiencing real physical art lets us engage with the work, the artist and the crowd. We can have a dialogue with someone and take away something from what we’ve seen.”

The show will be up through Friday, May 8, and is open to the public.

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