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Honors Art Receives a Standing Ovation

At the Dick Blick Gallery, Savannah residents browse art at their own pace, taking in every detail, feeling, and color. For the month of September, Blick Gallery hosted art from the recipients of Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art Scholarship at Georgia Southern University. The artists submitted personal projects that they created while on scholarship to form this year’s collection titled Ovation.

Two Georgia Southern University Honors Students, Elise Rustine (graphic design ’18) and Marian Trainor (2D and 3D studio art ’19) received this scholarship.  They had the opportunity to present their pieces of art at a public gallery. This professional setting outside of the university gave the students experience beyond what the classroom setting can provide. A career within the field of art requires relentless drive and belief in oneself. The Ovation Exhibition provided a setting for both students to create personal projects outside of the typical course assignments. They were able to challenge themselves to push the limit while making creative works of art.

The exhibition had art from an assortment of different forms such as animation, ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and metal work. Rustine and Trainor’s projects centered on photography and visual arts in terms of sculptures.

Rustine’s photography piece was titled “Windows into Glory.” She made a collage of photographs illustrating the beauty of the sky from different locations and times throughout the United States. She created a geometric and abstract pattern to form her overarching image of the sky.

“I believe that the sun and sky are examples of faithfulness represented through nature, so my goal was to portray my faith in my artwork and photography,” Rustine said.

Trainor’s aesthetic focuses on the wastefulness of man. She only works with used, second-hand or found objects because she does not want to support the over production of material goods. “A prehistoric mantra that ensured the survival of a species and was highly influential to the development of many ancient cultures was ‘waste no part of the animal.’ As a society, we no longer focus on efficiency. Instead, we excel at making waste,” she said.

For the Ovation Exhibition, she submitted an arrangement of “artifacts” from her independent show that she is in the process of developing. Dr. Julie McGuire, Professor of Art at Georgia Southern University, described the premise of Trainor’s independent show. “Currently, her focus is a large scale installation that delves into the life of a scorned and vengeful scientist-turned-drifter obsessed with the lives of invisible creatures. The installation is structured resembling an anthropological museum, focusing on the display of artifacts, writings, and samples that this self-created man collected over his life.”

Trainor also submitted pieces of sculptural costume jewelry. Her range in pieces showcases her strength to create diverse and new art. “I am a multimedia artist, so much of my work is made from a variety of mediums. This allows me to always be pushing myself to think of new innovations to evoke emotions through my art,” said Trainor.

The public setting, at the Blick Gallery, gave their work new exposure beyond their peers and professors. “I feel honored to participate in this event because it is not every day that your work is exhibited in a gallery in Savannah, Georgia. Blick Gallery allows for a diverse group of people to look at my art. I hope the viewers find it rewarding as well as thought provoking. I want my art to leave the world more beautiful than when I left it,” Rustine said.

Professional experiences, such as the Ovation Exhibition, are invaluable for a college student. Rustine and Trainor challenged themselves to push beyond what is expected of them. They trusted in themselves to create works of art that were true to them.

Trainor said, “Do not discourage yourself and be as passionate as possible. Passion is something you cannot fabricate because you must light your own fire by creating works authentic to who you are as an artist.”


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