Art Student Featured in Local Exhibition
By Eloise Ravell
Lynda Lee, Andrews University undergraduate student studying visual arts and chemistry, was recently accepted into the Michigan Emerging Graduate Artist (MEGA) Juried Exhibition hosted by the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Collective of Kendall College of Art and Design at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids for two of her oil paintings completed this year. Lee was also one of three recipients of the Juror’s Choice award.
The exhibition showcases 21 regional artists who will display their work in media such as drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and mixed media. It also allows newly working artists to expand their professional network in their field of interest.
The MEGA exhibition allows Lee and other artists to be officially introduced to the artist community and connect with professionals in the region. Networking is vital in an art career and is a means of building relationships with fellow artists and potential customers. It also is a way of obtaining information about gallery showings and creating a following of supporters.
“As a student, Lynda works incredibly hard and has pushed herself during the past two years that I have had her as a student,” says Kari Friestad, assistant professor of painting and drawing, whose work is also featured in the exhibition. “By participating in this state-wide show and being selected as a Juror’s choice from among BFA and MFA candidates, it has shown that Lynda’s work is at a high level of creative accomplishment.”
Lee, who plans to travel to South Korea upon graduation to teach English and give Bible studies, plans to attend Loma Linda University this coming fall to study dentistry. She is currently in her fifth and final year at Andrews. Lee submitted two paintings that she had been working on for her Honors Thesis Project, a yearlong project that seniors in the J.N. Andrews Honors Program must complete as part of their Honors requirements.
“The two paintings that I submitted for the exhibition are part of a series of male portraits that attempt to explore the concept of connection and disconnection between the self and other identities,” explains Lee. “I am working with the idea that our identity is the result of being both separate and related to the other, which requires some degree of openness and vulnerability. Being vulnerable can often be a challenge and has always been and still is a personal struggle for me. I wanted there to be a lack of intimacy and tried to portray the individuals in my paintings as being withdrawn and introverted by averting their gazes as well as giving them a more contemplative and meditative mood.”
Lee was inspired by Dutch-born sculptor Hanneke Beaumont who creates pieces in which human figures seem to be neither male nor female in appearance and neither young nor old. The ambiguous nature of Beaumont’s figures represents universal ideas of how people relate to each other. The sculptor also works with the idea of separation and often creates groups of figures that are close enough to interact with each other, yet remain separate and withdrawn.
“I tried watercolor and a bit of acrylic painting in some of my art classes in high school, but I didn’t start working with oil paint until I took an intro painting class here at Andrews,” says Lee.
Her time at Andrews has enriched her experience as a painter and the MEGA exhibition has helped her become more confident in her artistic abilities.
“Andrews is not a large school, and there are only a handful of fine art students,” says Lee. “But I want to believe that this exhibition shows that if you’re focused, motivated and diligent in your work, you will get better at what you’re doing and be acknowledged.”
Lee feels blessed to have been featured in the exhibition and is grateful to be introduced into the artist community.
“Lynda is seriously committed to her work and a very gifted artist,” says Friestad. “It has been a wonderful experience having her as a student. I am excited to see what other opportunities might come her way as a result of her hard work.”