Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Seniors install final art exhibition in Watkins Gallery

Ana Alexander/ Winonan

Kjel Alkire introduced the group of seniors who were presenting their final exhibition, “Attach,” to the audience members in the Science Laboratory Center.

“It is an odd and very brave thing to major in art,” Alkire said.

Alkire addressed the parents and other family members in the audience, reassuring them that their child would be able to find work after graduation and briefly advising them not to worry.

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“I know, because I have those people in my life, and they’ve been sweating bullets for years,” Alkire said as the audience laughed. “And it turned out alright for me.”

Alkire moved on to introduce the first artist of the show, Andrew Betzolt, to the audience. Betzolt’s installation included five prints, all of which featured animals dressed in human attire placed in a variety of settings such as a doctor’s office, a tax office or around a table where the animals played cards.

Betzolt addressed his lifelong love for animals and nature, and how it played into his inspiration for the pieces.

“We can see ourselves in these creatures,” Betzolt said. “We can relate to a lot of these animals.”

Betzolt dressed up the animals in his prints to either stylize them or to use them to represent different issues in America. One of the pieces depicts a sick deer lying down at the doctor’s office, while a weasel dressed in a doctor’s outfit sneers at him, holding a bag filled with cash. The piece is titled, “Healthcare in America.”

Betzolt commented on another aspect of his inspiration for his installation in the exhibit.

“No matter what man makes, nature usually reclaims it,” Betzolt said.

Betzolt concluded his presentation, leaving the stage to his fellow artists, including Gabi Hale.

“If there’s one thing you should know about me,” Hale said as she introduced herself, “it’s that I’ve always loved drawing. If you looked through my sketchbooks, you would find portraits on portraits on portraits.”

Hale described the evolution of her subject matter, from when she began drawing to her current artistic stage.

“I pretty much had a whole sketchbook dedicated to the lead singer of my favorite band, My Chemical Romance,” Hale said. “But then I started drawing people I actually cared about, not that I didn’t love Gerard Way.”

Hale’s installation included two portraits of loved ones, titled “Amelia” and “Ben,” both made with pastel chalk.

The next artist, Sonja Slater, collaborated with her daughter for her pieces. Slater discussed their unconventional collaboration, and how it all began. Slater hadn’t considered herself an artist until one day she drew a picture she was very proud of and left it on a counter to remind herself to start drawing.

“But someone beat me to it and colored all over it with red crayon,” Slater said as the audience laughed.

The incident inspired Slater to create another piece with her two-year-old daughter, which she included in her show. She created another piece with her daughter, once she turned three, which was also included in the exhibition.

Slater commented on the noticeable growth between the two pieces.

“It’s kind of cool to look between the two pieces and see how we both changed as artists,” Slater said.

Slater’s two pieces were installed across from each other in the gallery. Hale and another artist, Kelsey Etter, also installed their pieces alongside Slater’s in the same mirroring arrangement.

Hale spoke on how they decided to arrange their pieces.

“We were contemplating on how we wanted it to flow. We kind of just agreed, with the symmetry of the room we decided to put them across from each other to be symmetrical,” Hale said.

Etter agreed, and commented on another way the pieces were symmetrical.

“All three on the right side were the first ones we did and were more feminine. The second ones on the opposite side were more masculine, so it kind of flowed nicely by accident,” Etter said.

“Attach” opened on Monday, March 31, and was uninstalled on Friday, April 3. Watkins Gallery opened its newest senior exhibition, “Let’s Get Personal,” on Monday, April 6 and will uninstall on Friday, April 10.

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