GOCA presents UCCS visual art student senior exhibition ‘Sonder’ at the Ent center

According to Dictionary.com, “sonder” is defined as “the feeling one has on realizing that every other individual one sees has a life as full and real as one’s own.” The meaning of this word is recognized by this year’s visual art senior exhibition.

Opening Friday, April 12, GOCA presents “Sonder,” the UCCS senior exhibition in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery. The exhibition is the visual art professional seminar, the capstone presentation on how the soon-to-be-graduates have progressed in their art practices.

Claire Rau, principal instructor of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, has worked closely with students in developing their styles while teaching VA4980.

“Sonder is recognizing that every person in a group of people has a vivid and extraordinary life that you give respect to and embrace,” Rau said. “They have their own light and experiences, their pain, their trauma, and we just don’t necessarily know all of that.”

The exhibit has filled the gallery space with colorful and diverse mediums. Each of the student artists has created pieces that play on aspects of their life experience, memories and passions. The exhibition highlights the students’ growth through art and how expertise in art can look for different individuals. The exhibit creates conversation around childhood, self-identity and nature.

The Sonder exhibit post card. Photo courtesy of Claire Rau.

“Everyone becomes a singular kind of person. That’s one of the reasons why on the postcard a lot of the students decided to photograph their own houses and the lit windows with the shade drawn,” Rau said. “It’s symbolic of … this vivid, extraordinary life going on we may never know about happening.”

Though Rau is the instructor, students Karina Frederick, Abrham Bush Guevara and Avery Jam volunteered to take over curating the exhibition.

“It was offered as one of the jobs at the beginning of the class and I thought since I worked at the gallery already and had some experience it would be the perfect job for me,” Jam said. “It’s kind of overwhelming to have so much work to choose from, but everyone worked so well together, and I think we were able to put together a really great show.”

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Gallery is packed full of the artists’ works. In the past the exhibition took place in the GOCA downtown building, and this year is the first time the space has been offered for the visual art program.

“Mother.” Photo by Megan Moen.

When entering the gallery one of the first eye-catching artworks is Laura Elyse’s gigantic macrame spider, “Mother,” that crawls down from the wall in the middle of the space.

“There’s an actual mother spider [who] … after she has her babies, she pukes up her guts, and they eventually consume her,” Elyse said. This dynamic piece sheds light on Elyse’s artistic goals to explore mother nature, the stories of animals and motherhood.

Other arts in the exhibition uses sculpture with different mediums such as wax, papier-mâché or fabric materials. Sonder also features paintings, drawings, collages, and photography.

Student Sydney Omadio is presenting her self-portraits in the style of magazine covers titled “Act II: EDEN MAG:EDEN Herself,” “Act II: Eden MAG: Lipstick on a Pig,” and “Act II: Eden MAG: Everything is Better on Saturn.” Omadio has found a passion to explore her inner voices through experimental photography.

“I was really struggling on who I want to be as an artist, because I can’t draw or paint. So, I got introduced to photography when I took introduction to photography at UCCS and learned how much variety it gets you,” Ormadio said.

Visual art students learn different mediums and find their own voices throughout schooling at UCCS. Instructor Rau finds strength in the special way UCCS helps artists enunciate their own style: “I think that’s the strength of our interdisciplinary program at UCCS.”

“They’ve really [been] using their own [voices] to propel their work,” Rau said. “I get to see how they grow. Kind of the beginning and the end of that UCCS experience.”

To finish off their graduating UCCS exhibition, students will be giving a 15-minute presentation on their artwork in room 245 of the Ent Center for the Arts on Wednesdays this April 10 – May 1 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The artists in this exhibit and their presentation times are listed on the GOCA website.

Senior Sydney Omadio poses in front of her art piece. Photo by Megan Moen.