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BFA art displayed in Cultural Arts Center

"Interior Me" by Ali Hval from Hoover, Alabama, is one of several art pieces featured at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. CW | Amy Sullivan

Cokie Thompson

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With spring graduation just a few weeks away, many seniors at The University of Alabama are focused on moving on to a job or graduate school. A handful of art students have had the opportunity to practice what they’ll be doing after they walk across that stage.

A faculty jury selected seven Bachelor’s of Fine Arts students to exhibit work in the UA gallery of the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center from March 6 to April 3.

Ali Hval, a senior majoring in studio art, is one of the students with work in the show. She said BFA students submitted a selection of works to a group of faculty members to apply to be in the show.

“They kinda see what works with what,” she said. “We ended up with a lot of red in our show for some reason. We’re all women artists so I’m sure that says something.”

Hval said she and the other selected students got together in the space to curate the show and figure out how the pieces were going to fit together.

“You have seven people there and you want to make sure everyone’s satisfied,” Hval said. “You want to make sure all the objects have a relationship to one another so it’s not just all over the place.”

Hval said the process has taught her professional skills that she doesn’t get in studio classes.

“Now we have some gallery experience, we know how to hang our work, we know how to talk to galleries, we know how to propose our own shows if we want to do a solo exhibition,” she said.

As students move up through the BFA program, they are given more freedom to investigate art beyond figure drawing and still life paintings.

“We’re not using traditional materials anymore – I work with fabric a lot,” Hval said. “It’s really exciting that you don’t have to stick with one thing.”

Ausharea Adams, another senior majoring in studio art, is also having her work displayed in the show. She said she enjoyed working with the BFA students.

“Some of them I’ve had classes with, but I wasn’t aware they were BFA majors as well, and the fact that it was an all-women’s show was nice too,” she said.

Like Hval, Adams said she noticed similarities in the pieces. In addition to featuring similar colors, Adams said the pieces all had references to the body.

Adams has multiple pieces in the show, including a performance piece she first created for a drawing class. In the performance, Adams moves around inside what she called a pillowcase of nylon stretch fabric. She said she thinks viewers are wary of a live body in an art space and she likes being able to directly see their reactions to her work.

“From there I just started thinking about how my body could be translated into art, how it could be used as a medium that kind of exists in three dimensions and changes over time,” she said. “Then I started thinking about it in a more conceptual way, just thinking about this fabric being light, but my movements made it seem like it was something that I was struggling to push away from me.”

Adams brought the piece to campus last week and performed outside the Ferguson Center. While the earlier performance focused on anxiety and depression, the campus performance focused on Adams’ experience as a black woman at the University.

“I’m just thinking about how this piece can transform based on where I’m at,” she said. “That’s where it is right now but it could transform into something totally different in two weeks. That’s what I think is exciting about the performance pieces is they live multiple lives.”

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BFA art displayed in Cultural Arts Center