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Senior art students present thesis projects via online galleries

Lyon College’s senior art majors have adapted to remote learning by presenting their recently-completed thesis projects through online galleries.

Felicia Horn, Haven Johnson and Kayla Calhoun Medlin each designed an artist’s website to display their work, writing their own artist statement and bio.

Felicia’s project, Monophobia, explores the ramifications of ostracism. After being introduced to this issue in a psychology class, Felicia started to reflect on her own need to make connections with others, recognizing “repetitive negative patterns in her life as well as negative patterns in the lives of those around her.” 

Her latest series of paintings explores these dark patterns that form within human relationships. Using acrylic and gouache paint as her medium, she creates melancholy yet surrealist imagery. Felicia draws on symbolism in addition to the people around her as inspiration. Her artwork has an impactful presence created by the large scale as well as the vibrant colors of the paintings.

Felicia graduated this spring with a double major in art and elementary education. She received the Book Award for Art at the 2020 honors convocation and had her work included in Lyon’s Juried Student Exhibition in 2019 and 2020. She has taught community classes at the Batesville Arts Council, has helped create several murals around Batesville and has served as vice president of the Art Student League. Horn is currently based near her hometown of Judsonia. She is working on building her portfolio and hopes to eventually pursue her master’s degree.

Haven’s project, The Math Behind Art, uses a series of paintings and sketches to highlight how an image’s composition can improve the work’s aesthetic qualities. Although the composition is more important than the subjects, Haven still produces beautiful, classically-styled and expressionistic bodies of work.

Her series has analyzed nearly 100 masterpieces to find commonalities between them. She found that despite drastically different subjects and styles they all shared almost the same compositions. By calculating the angles and focal points of those compositions, she has created her own masterpieces.

Haven graduated this spring with a double major in art and theatre. 

Kayla’s project, Pretty Peculiar, is a collection of digital portraits that depict obscure creatures that are bizarre in appearance. When making these portraits, Kayla made them appear “painterly,” a quality that is normally associated with aesthetically pleasing subjects. By pairing this quality with subjects considered unappealing by some, she created a sense of visual conflict or “duality.”

Kalya used the “SKETCHBOOK” application by Autodesk on her Microsoft Surface Go. Digital painting is still relatively new to her. Most of her previous work featured watercolors. Kayla travels between Louisiana and Arkansas frequently, so she started practicing digital painting because it was easy to take with her. She enjoys the layering option the application offers and utilized it in all her pieces. 

Kayla chose to paint these peculiar creatures in a “pretty” way, because she wanted her viewers to be able to visualize something ugly in a way that enables them to find beauty. She hopes viewers will adopt open minds and an eye for unusual beauty. 

“I believe that if we can find beauty in even the most unattractive or boring things in life we will live with much more joy,” Kayla said. ”I also hope to share my love of all bizarre creatures and provide interesting information about them.”

Kayla grew up in Louisiana and moved to Arkansas to attend Lyon College. She presented her work in the annual Juried Student Exhibition in 2017. As part of her Advanced Studio Concepts course, she also exhibited work in the Imago Gallery at Fellowship Bible Church in Batesville. She has been commissioned for four independent murals in Louisiana and has served as president of the Kappa Pi Art Honors Society. She plans to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine or a doctoral degree in biology. While she is striving for a profession in the field of science, she will always consider herself an artist.