Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Flesh Garden: Senior Art Exhibiton

Elly Herrick
. Using wires, Schwabenbauer wove telephone wires and other materials into her pieces to create a series of unique and thought-provoking 3-D art. One piece that was introduced was called “Lonely, Get Connected.”

Flesh Garden is not your typical flower and plant garden. Flesh Garden was a gallery featuring the collective body of work of three Winona State University students. The body of work was created by Emily (Em) Schwabenbauer, Rayna Bowen and Alexys Moua.

Hosting an Art Talk on April 17 in the SLC, Flesh Garden featured art in different forms like charcoal pieces, sculptures and multimedia elements used in paintings. Moua started off the Art Talk speaking on the inspiration, process and explanations of some of the art. In Moua’s series, she created charcoal and graphite drawings of creatures with hyper-realistic features in a variety of poses. One piece, in particular, set the scene of the talk and seemed to capture immediate love from the audience, a piece called “Leon”. The piece soon became an icon in the student’s art studio and even received a note for Valentine’s Day.

“Recently I’ve been having these dreams and nightmares…and I wanted to draw the future of those dreams and because of that Leon was born. Leon is an icon to my peers; he was born on a Tuesday night when I lay in bed, and I could not go to sleep, and I just had this idea that I wanted to draw it out. I went and grabbed my materials, I sat on the ground, and I just went at [it],” Moua said. “Leon came to the show and there was no wall space for him. I was devastated, but my good friend gave me this brilliant idea which is to put Leon on an easel to say goodbye to the visitors…It was perfect.”

Using a bold pastel shade as the background for three of her pieces, Moua used graphite and pastel to create this series of creatures. An orange piece called “Sarah” is one of them.

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“Her name is Sarah. Sarah loves to shop. She’s very rich and if you look closely, you can see all the details that I put on it like accessories, rings, bracelets and tattoos,” Moua said. “And a lot of my details in each three of these pieces [is that] they all have a small companion with them…I had to be very careful with the detail and trying not to smudge the graphite off of the pastel.”

Next, artist Schwabenbauer presented her body of work focused on the effects of technology and what it would be like to have a cell phone in your head. Using wires, Schwabenbauer wove telephone wires and other materials into her pieces to create a series of unique and thought-provoking 3-D art. One piece that was introduced was called “Lonely, Get Connected.”

“Most folks in our society have access to smartphones and with these phones, if you have internet, you have access to your contacts. These people in life…are always at your fingertips as long as you have the device for it. Yet, despite having access to social connections, we tend to feel lonelier than ever nowadays, it seems,” Schwabenbauer said. “So, if you look at side profiles, they’re kind of distant, or you can say distant and emotionless… the expressionless faces are reminiscent of me, like how I feel when I’m reading a text on my phone. I might see something funny and respond ‘LOL’, but my facial expression doesn’t change that much. Instead of painting expressive eyes, I painted eyes similar to that human skull to where they’re dry and feeling emptiness. I chose red, green, and blue, kind of like a cream color, to represent the red, green, and blue pixels that you see on the screen.”

Lastly, Bowen finished the Art Talk with her body of work focusing on the perception of Women in combination with food. After scanning the room for children, Bowen revealed that she had created several sculptures of cakes with a slice cut out showing a woman’s vagina. Which she joked could be used to teach anatomy.


“The idea for this series came from a class that happened last semester, in which I wanted to make a piece of work which represented the view that society has about women while juxtaposing that with food,” Bowen said. “Within our culture, cake is usually celebratory, and used in family settings and friendship settings to celebrate an event and I wanted to pair that with the female body. I played around with either including the vagina on the side of the cake, the labia, or putting a whole woman.”

While she figured finding pictures would be easy, she didn’t realize throughout the process how hard it would be to get a clear picture and that there was a lack of diversity from shapes to colors. Bowen had also sculptured cupcakes based on the woman’s breast displayed on a dish along with a wallpaper she created. With a short amount of time to display the art, Bowen and two of her friends painted her section pink. The exhibit was displayed in Watkins Gallery from April 15-19.


This slays Elly thank you!!

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About the Contributor
Elly Herrick
Elly Herrick, Online Editor
Elly Herrick (She/They) is currently the online/social media editor, business manager, features writer, and photographer. Try saying that five times fast. Herrick also works as the Communications Director on Student Senate, a 2023 Orientation Leader, and was newly added on a Tuesday 7-10p.m timeslot on KQAL. They are also the Social media manager for the WSU Pre-Athletic Training Club. Herrick is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is a second-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communications: Public Relations with a minor in Advertising, Photography, and Creative Digital Media. They love following challenging and fulfilling stories. They also have a strong passion for writing and giving others a voice. Herrick loves to travel and over the summer, they traveled to Greece, Italy, and Barcelona. They are now saving up and planning on going to New Zealand this winter with their Aunt. Outside of school, they love taking the train and seeing live concerts with friends. They also love sharks and a good book!    

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