AUGUSTA — The variation of artwork produced by graduating University of Maine at Augusta art students for their senior theses is evident by a glance into the Danforth Gallery.

Unfinished drawings of hands cover the walls of one corner, horses sculpted out of parts of old engines and farm equipment sit on pedestals, strands of fibers attached to the ceiling dangle to the floor, and in the middle of the room sits a super-sized board game inspired by The Game of Life.

The works by the seven seniors are the final projects in their undergraduate college careers and represent their personal or professional focuses, said Peter Precourt, the art professor who oversaw this senior class.

“In this group of students, they all have strong personal visions. For some, it took a little longer to emerge than others,” Precourt said Friday afternoon to the attendees of the exhibit reception. But all the projects represent the students’ intensity and perseverance, he said.

Doreen Morgan, of Augusta, used her nondominant hand to draw a series of hands for her senior thesis. She said using her left hand forced her to experiment, knowing the pieces wouldn’t be perfect.

“When I’m drawing it with my right hand, I’m thinking about what I’m drawing,” she said. “When I’m drawing with my left hand, I’m just drawing.”

Morgan said the experience also helped her connect with the emotions of the scenes she was drawing. While drawing her mother’s arthritic hands and broken fingers, Morgan said she felt tenderness, while also knowing that her own hands someday will look like her mother’s.

Another Augusta resident, Arielle Cousens, created sculptures of horses from items she had found. The sculpture that inspired her thesis, created in the image of a horse named Black Beauty that she drives by on her way to work, is made from brackets of old car engines and has tree branches entwined with the metal. Some of the materials used she had found years ago, and other parts she collected for the specific sculptures, she said.

Two of her sculptures are made from driftwood, similar to work she and her boyfriend, Benjamin Stoodley, have done commercially in the past, including two driftwood moose they made for the Randall Student Center.

Another sculpture in her thesis project is of a 34-year-old former pulling horse named Dan, created from old, rusty farm equipment.

“It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle,” Cousens said. “Basically, you’ve got all these parts. You’ve just got to assemble them.”

Precourt and Karen Adrienne, another art professor, said what the students will do after college also varies. Some will work on portfolios for graduate school, others will look for work in art-related fields, and some students will apply their creative skills to fit into a creative economy.

Precourt said social media and the Internet have created more options for students to pursue art because there are now many more ways to sell and display art than just through art galleries.

Glenn Cummings, acting UMA president, said before giving his remarks at the reception that he was impressed by the quality and variety of the work. He said it’s evident art faculty members created a safe environment and an encouraging environment for the students to make their artwork.

“It’s really thoughtful, very well done and kind of edgy, too,” Cummings said of the exhibit.

The 2015 Senior Thesis Exhibition will be shown at the Danforth Gallery until May 29. Another reception is scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, the day of the university’s graduation ceremony.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @pdkoenig


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