Senior Art Show

Senior Art Show

The Weizenblatt Gallery hosts exhibitions of work in a variety of styles and mediums by artists of local and national prominence. The Senior Art Exhibition can be seen in person through May 14, 2021 in Weizenblatt Gallery.

Below you’ll find artwork and artist statements from:

  • Kendall Bines
  • Kiersten Foust
  • Jayson Gaston
  • Gabby Gianikos
  • Zehr Gibbs-Barger
  • Emma Medlin
  • Blaine Sharpe





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Skip Rohde at,
(828) 273-6476

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Artist Statement – Kendall Bines

For me the hardest part of creating a body of work for this showcase was not the art itself, but the subject, what could I do that was original while also paying homage to the many artists before me? Better yet, how could I create my own identity? So I chose to base my body of work on my hobbies and how music and art influenced my formative years. The saying goes never judge a book by its cover, but to some extent you have to, the same goes with music especially if you’re a collector or a casual fan looking to broaden their horizon.

My body of work reflects both music and graphic design; as my obsession with graphic design and art began with album covers, music videos and promotional posters. With my work I set out to emulate and capture what drew me into Hip-Hop, while also adding my own flare. My artwork takes from multiple influences such as traditional photography, illustration and pop culture. My hope is that others can see my art, understand my references to pop culture and at the very least leave with a new understanding of music and the power of album art.

Artist Statement – Kiersten Foust

As a woman who has spent most of my life in competitive athletics, I have become very aware of how the media and our culture has normalized a stereotypical female athlete’s body and the way we should look while competing; tall but not too tall, strong but not too strong, skinny but not too skinny, and that we should look presentable and pleasing to the eye.

My current photography explores how we portray ourselves/how society want us to portray ourselves versus what society does not visually see that comes along with being a female collegiate athlete. The intention behind presenting the athletes in various ways is to allow the viewer to see the physical and mental side of what being a female athlete can entail. You may notice that some of these female athletes are captured without any sports equipment or in action, I do this because I want to capture more of their emotions through body language, and expression to tell their story and what they have been through with simply themselves.

My desire to photograph collegiate athletes’ roots from realizing how much of our story could and should be told as society places such high standards on us and has created a perfect stereotypical female athlete that no one in reality will meet. My overall intention is for viewers to acknowledge some of the standards society places on female collegiate athletes and how because of that we are expected to portray ourselves a certain way. Also, as society does not see what we go through mentally and physically, I would like viewers to get a bit of an understanding throughout my photography.

Artist Statement – Jayson Gaston

My name is Jayson Gaston. I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. I was raised by my mother, Tammie and my father, Michael with my three siblings, my older brother Demarcus, my older sister Necole and my younger sister Mikayla.

I have worked on a logo design for a nail salon owned by my girlfriend called, N.A.S.H. Nails. Nash is an acronym for Never Ashamed of Showing Holiness.

The elements that I chose to personify the branding of this company were the simple yet elegant font that is generally identified with nail salons. I also incorporated the slight movement caught by the curve of the hands and also the eye capturing color of the nail polish.

My poster designs are reflecting on the problem of racism globally. I chose to convey a message of unity in my poster by using elements like difference in skin color to show that in order to survive on this earth we all must unify.

Artist Statement – Gabby Gianikos

My work is an examination of human identity, what our identities mean and more importantly, what they do not mean. Using the self-portrait as the subject, I’m exploring the realms between fact and fiction. As these lines blur, the physical world we define our existence around has begun to matter less. Examples of such fictions are time, numbers, language, and identity. Humans agree upon these things to unite and cooperate through a functionable society. The deeper issue arises when these fictions are thought to be truths about ourselves. We encompass our entire being around our identities: athlete, mother, doctor, teacher, etc. like they hold true to our essence, but there is a lack of authenticity here. Allowing the personas we occupy to define ourselves and believing to be separate bags of skin existing within the universe is nothing more than an enhancement of the ego. It detaches us further from discovering our real selves and blinds us from seeing our connectiveness with the whole.

These paintings and drawings are my attempt to illustrate this illusion. I am placing myself in costumes, exaggerated bags of skins. I use myself as the sole subject as I fall victim to this hallucination every day. We place great emphasis on external presence and what society tells us to be, I am interested in what would remain when all of that is gone. There is nothing wrong with being these identities, but it becomes dangerous when one starts trusting them to be “I.” The belief in these facades can limit one’s natural flourishment, we can also look quite foolish for this attachment. Things are far from what they seem, I encourage viewers to question what they thought of reality and themselves to hold true, even things as fundamentally sound as our own senses.

Artist Statement – Zehr Gibbs-Barger

My current body of work is ceramics, using both hand building and carving into the surface. I chose ceramics for this senior show because I am exploring my memories of childhood and childhood animals. I wanted to use a medium that I associate with innocence. Usually when we are exposed to ceramics or things that resemble clay, it is when we are young. It is a very hands on medium like the sculpey or play doh I used to play with. I chose to use this coupled with carving because I am confident in my skills as a more traditional artist (drawing/painting). I wanted to utilize these skills as well as use my skills in ceramics to keep the theme.

The reason that I chose to use animals is the same reason, because of my childhood. All of the animals that I chose to create are animals that have had significant meaning in my life. The four types of  animals that I am using are my African gray parrot, Twanda, a dragonfly, my birth totem, a fruit fly, which reminds me of my mom Teri, and two goldfish that remind me of my other mom, Shawn.

Twanda has been around my whole life and will probably end up living longer than me. She is less like a pet and more like an annoying little sibling. As soon as I knew what I wanted to do for this project, I knew Twana had to be a part of it. The second animal is my birth totem and is the dragonfly. I have always had dragonflies around me, I even have a dragonfly tattoo. The third animal that I decided to emulate is the fruit fly. It just reminds me of my childhood and how quirky my mom is for teaching me weird, long, scientific words and the scientific name when I was so young. It was always a running joke that my mom had a 4 – 5 year old that knew things like that. The last animal that I am using is a goldfish. In my childhood I had two goldfish named yogurt and sky and I decided to use them because they remind me of my other mom and of the jokes we always make about those goldfish.

I wanted to hand build these vessels rather than throw them so they would look less mass produced and more individualized. Within this, I think that it would be more effective to capture the essence of an animal rather than a portrait of them. For the smaller animals like the fruit fly, the dragonfly, and the fish I am going to have the entire animal on one but make multiple vessels. There is never just one fruit fly, dragonfly, or fish. Twanda however will be broken up into a few vases. Her wings will be on one, tail on another, and so on. The shape of the vessel will reflect the shape of the animal. The subtle details will definitely be an important part of this body of work.

Artist Statement – Emma Medlin

The idea that a cup of coffee is like a companion in the same sense a dog is a companion to man, “Man’s best friend.” There is a similar relationship found between a daily cup of coffee, as well as man and their dog. Bird Dog Coffee is designed from my love for coffee and my dog. Bird Dog Coffee promotes a dog friendly atmosphere. Customers are invited to bring their furry friend in with them as the tone is relaxed and cordial. As part of conveying the friendly aura that the coffee shop is aims for, it also captures the strength of coffee which resembles the strength of dogs. Using only black and white for the logo reinforces simplicity. This inspiration which is found from my dog who is a black and white German Shorthaired Pointer. To attach the friendly vibe of the coffee shop I have created a soft welcoming logo. To help brand my coffee shop I have created an icon based logo. This logo captures the simple message of “bird dog coffee” by including the specific icons of a bird, a dog, and a coffee cup.

Artist Statement – Blaine Sharpe

Insane Games

The Insane Games small business is to provide people and gamers with the best games and consoles to improve these experiences with friends, family members, and even for when you want to relax by yourself and travel to a new world. The reason that I made this logo is because when I was a kid, me and my dad would go to Gamestop together and buy a bunch of Dragonball and fighting games to play together whenever I got good grades in school. When we were playing the games if I lost I would get mad and try my hardest to win at any cost which is where I got insane for the logo.