Art Students Explore Ideas of Nature and Femininity in “Out of Eden”

APR 24-27 Out of Eden, Out of Eden
APR 24 Opening Reception, 5-8 pm

Out of Eden showcases the work of five graduating senior printmakers and painters in the Sella-Granata Art Gallery April 24-27, 2017. Artists Erika Busse, Sarah Johns, Rachel Jones, Emily Pickert and Ivey Scott exhibit paintings and prints that explore the overlapping themes of femininity and nature. The show represents the culmination of their time as student artists and each one has a particular point of view on the show’s themes. The public is invited to an opening reception to meet the artists Monday, April 24, 5-8 pm.

After seeing the students’ work, Associate Professor Sky Shineman suggested that the students create the exhibition, the first time they have worked together. “The themes and materials shared by these women reveal a sophistication and curiosity about the world in which they live. Mythology, appreciation of natural beauty, craft and the powerful agency of art-making are a shared language among these works.” Shineman said that this exhibition highlights the way art-making can create relevance and meaning when combined with other departments at UA. “It is really exciting to see these engaged and enlightened artists from a variety of areas of study bring their voices together.”

Erika Busse, from Prospect, Kentucky, is a double major in studio art and general business with a minor in art history. Busse says she is inspired by nature and believes it is the purest form of beauty. “I want everyone to want to be in it as much as possible to draw inspiration in their own lives.” She explains, “I am outside all of the time and try to bring the beauty of nature into the printmaking studio and my paintings. I use natural objects in my processes. I want my work to bring people the peace that I find in nature and remind them of its simple beauty.”  

Sarah Johns is a senior in New College. Her depth study is titled Creativity and Mental Health, which combines art, psychology and social work. Johns says her work in this exhibition explores femininity and the fragility of the body. “I have paintings of bruises that range from abstractions to more realistic interpretations and a few prints that depict women as the subject matter.” After graduation, Johns plans to spend a year serving as a fellow at The Road in Atlanta, part of the Episcopal Service Corps, a nonprofit that advocates for social change.

Rachel Jones, who hails from Knoxville, Tennessee, is a BFA major with a concentration in printmaking and a minor in the Blount Scholars Program. “My work finds inspiration in the narratives of Classical mythology and traditional fairytales. By bringing physicality to their gaze, I hope to upend the expected representation of feminine characters, and to explore their stories through a modern feminist perspective that gives them agency over their own myth and environment.”

Emily Pickert is a senior in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on arts management. “My work is about women’s experiences in this world and the vulnerability we face.” Pickert points out that all the work in the show “forms a cohesive language of art and its story without sacrificing personal identity. Every piece from one artist adds depth to another’s in a way that would not be possible in a single-person show.” Currently an intern at Kentuck Art Center, Pickert plans to take a year off before returning to graduate school to continue her studies in Arts Management.

Ivey Scott, from Montgomery, Alabama, whose BFA concentration is in painting, noted that all the artworks and the ideas are related by the subjects of nature, feminine exploration and by the techniques the artists used. Scott presents a series of landscape scenes in oil paintings and relief prints in which she creates certain moods. She hopes to share her love of the outdoors by taking the viewer into the picture.

Go to our website for more information about the Department of Art and Art History’s degree programs.

Funding support for the Sella-Granata Art Gallery comes from the UA Department of Art and Art History. Admission to the gallery is free. The gallery is located at 109 Woods Hall in the heart of the UA campus on Woods Quad. Hours are Monday through Thursday 10:00 – 4:00 p.m. Information about visitor parking is available here: Parking is free on campus in a legal space after business hours. Contact the gallery at (205) 348-2783 or go to