“Under Development” by Thompson Rivers University 2024 Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduates in the KAC Main & Hallway Galleries
Thursday January 11th to Thursday February 15th, 2024
Mediums: Mixed Media
Artist Reception: January 12th, 2024, Time TBA
Under Development features artworks-in-progress by Thompson Rivers University’s 2024 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduating class. These artworks represent the research and praxis students have engaged with since Fall 2023 as they prepare for their thesis exhibition in Spring 2024. This exhibition provides a glimpse into the artistic process, demonstrating a variety of approaches taken in the creation of art. From incomplete paintings to experiments with installation and arrangement, Under Development provides an opportunity for viewers to see behind the scenes and for students to practice sharing, displaying, and gathering feedback on their works. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the process of emerging artists and invite you to come to the student’s graduating exhibition in April at Thompson Rivers University to see how the work evolves.
Student: Adrian Romeo
Artist Statement: This body of work is a response to living with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is not commonly understood by the public, and even in the medical community most of the research into it is relatively new. It is characterized by widespread chronic pain and chronic fatigue. It is an illness that is not cured but managed. Research into my own health has taught me a lot about my body and the science of how it functions. This knowledge of the underlying structures within my body that are directly involved in my illness has been a source of inspiration, along with my external physical experiences existing in a body. I am exploring the complicated and nuanced relationship I have with my body and my illness using a variety of 3D mediums. My experience with my body has been intricately entire life and exacerbated by the development of my illness in the past few years. I am considering the physical, mental, and emotional relationships with myself that are ever-growing and changing. I am exploring the comfort and discomfort of learning and gaining knowledge. I am contemplating the meaning of acceptance. I am challenging myself to find ways to express these thoughts in a way that engages the viewer to consider their own experience with their body and encourages them to learn more about chronic illnesses.
Artist Biography: Adrian Romeo grew up in Clearwater, B.C., a small town with much to offer, but very little in the way of an art community. Her interest in art began with using crayons to colour on the back of her bedroom door and hoarding the little plastic stands from the center of the pizza boxes. Her interest in art was always present, but the confidence to pursue it took the isolation of early pandemic life to emerge. In 2020 she began studying fine arts at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C.Adrian’s work is a creative response to the vast complexities of being human. Her practice is informed by the universal experience of living in a human body, and how it manages to be individual and unique while also being ubiquitous. It is shaped by her ever-changing mental, physical, and emotional relationship with her own body. These relationships have become more complicated with the development of chronic illness in the past few years. After being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Adrian became influenced by scientific research and her artworks, reached new personal depths, that explore the line between discomfort and allure.
Student: Emily Hinds
Artist Statement: I am experimenting and learning how to evoke an emotion or sense of place within my paintings and textile works, inviting the viewer to experience their own connections with the installation. I allow the paint to be paint and fiber to be fiber, working with them as they grow into something more spatial and descriptive. I feel most safe and at home on the Sunshine Coast. Growing up visiting my family there allowed me to explore and experience the beauty with optimism, excitement, and wonder. These strong connections bring big emotions to how I view the place. Jedidiah Island is the place that holds the most power in my mind as it is the first location where I felt truly home, with an overwhelming connection to the land. My Great-Grandfather was born on Jedidiah Island, on the same day I was, and according to my Grandma, with the same hair colour as mine. I didn’t know this upon my arrival and left my Grandma shocked when I told her how impactful this land was to me. This is why I have taken my memory of paddling into the bay containing the house he grew up in and turned it into a mixture of memory and perception, expressed through art. Drawing from this experience, I bring the memory and feeling into the work in a non-representational manner. I am bringing the sense of place into a painting and textile works and allow the artwork to become a place in itself. For the artwork to evoke a feeling I work large-scale, allowing the viewer to have an immersive experience. An overwhelming size allows me to show the large role places have played in my life and bring them into a space that others can engage in the feelings as well.
Artist Biography: Emily Hinds (b. 2002 in Kamloops, British Columbia) grew up in Kamloops while spending numerous summers on the Sunshine Coast where her family is from. She is currently a BFA student at ThompsonRiversUniversity. Hinds comes from a family where art and ‘doing it yourself’ were often encouraged, giving her confidence in her ability to do anything she sets her mind to. Growing up she could often be found drawing or painting when she wasn’t outdoors. Exploring nature and staying active were a large part of her early life and continue to inspire her work today. How people can connect to the land they are from, and the ability to feel strong familiarity to specific places is a theme she is currently interested in. Connections to land and people are an influence throughout her life, leading to the exploration of places and emotions within her art. Experimenting with allowing an artwork to become a place is her current endeavour. She is exploring this through playing with large-scale pieces and big brush strokes to convey feelings and finding new ways to work with paint and textiles to invite others to explore her sense of place through immersive art experiences.
Student: Fae Lyn Eden
Artist Statement: I am fat. This is a neutral fact. Well, it should be a neutral fact, but society, by and large, does not view fat bodies neutrally. I have long made a habit of using art to explore aspects of myself that I am not comfortable with or find painful, so exploring how I feel about my body and the space I take up in the world is a natural outflow of that practice. The two high-relief sculptures: “Belly” and “Side Boob” are part of an ongoing body of work addressing this theme. I have chosen to work with fabric in part because soft sculpture suits the concept best and in part because textiles are the link between our bodies and fashion–or how we exist in our bodies in connection to ourselves and society. Additionally, these pieces are meant to relate to quilting, embroidery, and other traditional textile arts. I feel the association of these arts with essential elements of nurturing and care is in line with the message I am communicating. The sculpture in the round, “Untitled DressForm” is a past creation that I am including to show the intended direction of this body of work. I want to develop these dress forms further so that they are more realistic, individualized body shapes. The concept of the dress forms as sculptures was drawn from my lived experience of wanting better-fitting clothing but lacking sewing patterns and a dress form in my size. The lack of representation of and accommodation for fat bodies by the media is a problem that needs correcting. We will not simply cease to exist just because we are ignored and underrepresented; therefore, it makes sense for society not just to acknowledge us, but to fully include us. I hope this work helps to spark discussions and inspire change.
Artist Biography: Fae Lyn started her artistic journey as a child, inspired by the intensely beautiful environment of the tropical rainforest she lived in. She loved singing, drawing, and writing. At eight she and her best friend wrote and performed a play. At ten she carried a notebook everywhere she went, drawing dresses; she wanted to be a fashion designer. Through her adolescence to early adulthood, Fae Lyn focused on academic success and repressed her artistic pursuits. While in University, she took a painting course as an elective and despite the challenges it presented, it became a catalyst for her development as an artist. She is currently completing a BFA at Thompson Rivers University. Fae Lyn’s conceptual works explore personal and political themes including grief/trauma, feminism, ableism and sizeism. In acknowledgement that wonder and joy are also powerful expressions she incorporates playful elements into her serious works. She enjoys working with multiple mediums including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and 3D/intermedia but her main area of focus is textiles because of their versatility. She still finds fashion inspiring and loves wearable art. Her current works in progress include soft fabric sculptures and a sensory experience installation.
Student: Havisha Baboolall
Artist Statement: As an artist, I believe that true self-expression requires a willingness to embrace vulnerability and explore the deepest corners of one’s own psyche. This is precisely what I set out to achieve with my latest self-portrait series, entitled “Pieces of Me”. Each image in the series is a glimpse into a different part of my own psyche, a reflection of the many different emotions and experiences that make me who I am. From the dark and brooding to the bright and playful, each image in the series is a testament to the complexity of the human condition and the many ways in which we experience the world around us. Through careful attention to detail and a meticulous approach to composition, I am able to create images that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also deeply meaningful and thought-provoking. For me, the process of creating “Pieces of Me” has been a deeply personal one, requiring a willingness to be vulnerable and open with myself. It is through this process of self-exploration and introspection that I can create images that are not only a reflection of my own experiences but also a commentary on the human condition. Ultimately, my goal as an artist is to create work that resonates with the viewer on a deep and meaningful level, inviting them to explore their own emotions and experiences in a new and unique way. With “Pieces of Me”, I believe that I have achieved just that, creating a series of images that are as powerful as they are beautiful, and which speak to the universal human experience in a way that is both profound and unforgettable.
Artist Biography: Growing up on the island of Mauritius, Havisha was surrounded by the vibrant colours and diverse cultures of her homeland. From a young age, she was fascinated by the natural beauty of the island, with its lush tropical forests, crystal-clear waters, and stunning coral reefs. As she grew older, Havisha discovered her passion for the arts, and she began to experiment with different mediums and techniques. She found that she was particularly drawn to portrait painting, fascinated by the challenge of capturing a person’s essence and spirit on canvas. Her work is characterized by its attention to detail, as well as its ability to capture the unique personality and emotions of her subjects. Havisha remains deeply rooted in her love for her homeland and the environment that inspired her to become an artist in the first place. She continues to draw inspiration from the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Mauritius, infusing her portraits with a sense of warmth and vitality that is uniquely her own.
Student: Morgan Tinsley
Artist Statement: I had the idea to work with the idea of the red dress campaign which is bringing attention to and seeking justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women. With assistance from Darleen, I was able to come up with a strong idea of having a male figure try to cover a female figure in a red dress while two men, one being a man of the cloth and the other being a Mountie pull him back. In the background, I wanted there to be something from my grandmother’s life, that being her being forced into the Lejac residential school where I will have her standing in the center of the doorway both as a youth and her present age. I want the painting to have the idea of the effects of the residential schools, the police and the Christian religion at the forefront of the painting, then in the background, there will be a Mountie hat, booze bottles and a cross in the snow. All of these are there to symbolize a plethora of different things that have kept the First Nations Peoples down. I want it all to come together as something that is both harrowing to look at as well as interesting and in-depth. The central idea on the men’s role in trying to protect their women and how everything from the government and religion are holding them back. The ground will be littered with things to keep them from getting a solid grip and the snow is there to show the death of the land.
Artist Biography: Morgan dislikes talking about himself as well as prefers not to be around other people, he enjoys the comforts of painting and sketching where he finds most of his peace from the otherwise noisy world. He is a member of the Saik’uz First Nation and his art reflects his heritage through both symbolism and design. He was born in Kamloops, raised in Valemount and now attends Thompson Rivers University where he studies fine arts. In his recent works, he has been bringing attention to the red dress campaign as well as the injustice the First Nations People of Canada have had to endure as well as his own struggle within his mixed heritage. He enjoys most mediums and excels in adapting new mediums to suit his style. To conclude, most of his recent works reflect his heritage through his preferred medium of painting while finishing his fine arts degree at Thompson Rivers University.
Student: Renée Thomas
Artist Statement: While completing my BFA, I discovered that I have ADHD which changed my perspective on how I work and create and started me down a path of research and experimentation. This research led me to realize that my brain does not prioritize things by their importance, but instead by how interesting it is. This is due to a low amount of dopamine being produced. Dopamine is the brain chemical that gives us our drive, so unless a task is interesting, it is an uphill battle to get the work done. One tactic used is something called “Following the Dopamine”, which consists of providing yourself with options of what to work on and allowing yourself to do work that is interesting at the time. As such, the materials and techniques used to create the sculptures are varied which allows for multiple options for me to work on, and lets the work flow freely. It is finding the path of least resistance and allowing myself to be led down it. This lack of drive chemical also means that I tend to seek out things that provide dopamine through stimulating activities and environments. I have always found bright colours to be soothing. Whether I’m overstimulated, or under-stimulated, if I look at a brightly coloured image or object, it calms my mind. It has a hypnotic effect on me that is almost meditative. This is directly tied to the stimulation-seeking nature of ADHD. Under UV light, neon or fluorescent-coloured objects become their own light source, which provides the most mesmerizing effects for my brain. The same effect happens with optical illusions, which led to my decision to cover the outer walls of the installation with them. While my installation is tied to my ADHD, it does not speak to it directly. The purpose is to create spaces that elicit a sense of joy from anyone who views them. It is also not tied to any recognizable biome or even planet. It is a cave-like space designed for anyone to truly lose themselves in. This allows for a wonderfully experimental way of working which has enhanced the exploratory nature of art creation for me. It feels as though I am truly free to cover the cave walls with whatever makes me happy.
Artist Biography: RenéeThomas is a multimedia artist, focusing on sculptural installation and printmaking for her graduating year. She has also recently discovered that she has ADHD, which affects many aspects of her life, including how she creates art, and how she perceives the world. She has always been drawn to a fluorescent colour palette, as it has a calming effect on her sensory-seeking brain. This same sensory seeking has led her to research a system of working called “following the dopamine”, which involves allowing herself to switch mediums whenever needed in order to maintain interest and attention in the project. This way of working allows her to hyperfocus on creating sculpture or print and results in less stress and frustration. Essentially it is finding the path of least resistance. The result of these aspects of ADHD is art that is vibrant, surreal and involves multiple techniques. The use of black light enhances the vibrancy of the sculptures she creates, as the UV light turns the sculptures into their own light source. The dark spaces in which these sculptures are typically displayed create a surreal, otherworldly sense of wonder. Being in these spaces, surrounded by bright colourful sculptures provides the viewer with an opportunity to let their mind wander and lose focus on reality. This allows for a glimpse of how she perceives colour and details in the world, as well as the easily distractable nature of ADHD. While Renée’s work is tied closely to ADHD, the art does not speak directly to this aspect of her life. The sculptures she creates are meant to elicit a sense of wonder, no matter how your brain is wired. It allows you to let go for a moment and let your mind float freely through the environment she created.
Student: Shoshana Wilson
Artist Statement: This project explores the process of creating a 3D animation. I hope to show funny and cute characters based on real-life fur friends. Creating this animation, I will be character designing, storyboarding, 3D character sculpting, character rigging, animating, recording and editing sound dialogues, and applying textures and colours. Toby & Sebastian is an ambitious project. I am learning as I go. The main characters are based on my real-life adopted pets. Toby is a 3-year-old Welsh corgi. He was adopted 3 months after my half-munchkin, half-ragdoll cat Sebastion, who is the same age. Since they were introduced so young, they have become best friends. To top off their sibling-like relationship, they are both orange. The inspiration for creating a 3D animation is years of watching animated cartoons. I am interested in behind-the-scenes and how the animations are brought to life. I have always been interested in animations, but never thought I could create one myself. After learning about Blender, I began to teach myself how to use the program. I also studied Film History and Film Research as a part of my Minor program at Thompson Rivers University. I am applying that learning to create my own 3D short films. The animation is intentionally short so that I can focus on the process and tell a simple story that is relatable to all animal lovers.
Artist Biography: Shoshana Wilson is a second-generation First Nations artist. Her hometown is both her father’s hometown, Kitamaat Village, Haisla Nation, but she also grew up in her mother’s hometown, Secwépemc, Bonaparte First Nation. Her father, Barry Wilson, is a Haisla artist who inspires her Indigenous artwork. Shoshana is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual art at Thompson Rivers University. She is a multidisciplinary artist, working with oil and acrylic paint, digital painting, and digital sculpting. Her interest in digital art started during a video production course, and she has explored different programs and techniques ever since. She has always had an interest in 3D animations and is currently working towards the production of her own 3D animation. Shoshana is the recipient of the Artist Grant from the Haisla Nation Council. Her artwork has been exhibited in TRU’s Art Gallery and she was honoured to make gifts to Japanese dignitaries while attending a Japan field school, which led to an article in Kamloops’ Castanet News and the TRU Newsroom.
Student: Siddhesh Chikane
Artist Statement: Skate culture has taught me many things. The most important lesson was the persistence to keep going when the going gets tough. A beginner at skateboarding is bound to fail multiple times before they succeed and the only way to improve is to keep falling until they finally nail that one trick that will inspire them to aim higher. The double exposure of The Fall works as a representation of repetition of failing repeatedly, of how a beginner might try an“ollie” and fail. I focused on the framing of the image, even though it is a self-portrait, I did not want it to focus heavily on me. By having it as a panoramic image, the compositions shift the focus of the image from being a self-portrait to a representation of a concept. “The human condition” as a layman’s term is defined as characteristics and key events in human life. The cycle of failing constantly while trying to achieve an aim or a goal is a part of the human condition and so is the frustration, anger, and disappointment that it brings along. How we face these learning opportunities and overcome challenges is what makes us human.
Artist Biography: Siddhesh Chikane is a Kamloops, BC-based artist who is in the process of achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) from Thompson Rivers University is honing his art and working towards his 4th year exhibition. He specializes in working with photography, videography, and installation artworks. Siddesh was awarded the Fred Billows Memorial Award for his excellence and pursuit of photography in 2023. Siddhesh is deeply involved with working with philosophical concepts like the philosophy of failure and drawing inspiration from literature like old poems to create context for his artworks. His work is also informed by his love for skateboarding and he often draws parallels between skateboarding and philosophical concepts similar to what he’s done with The Fall, 2023.
Student: Yining Ren
Artist Statement: This is a series of experiments with painting techniques. People often compare painting with photography to judge the quality of the painting, but I think the difference between painting and photography is that painting allows the viewer to see the image through the artist’s eyes. The purpose behind creating this series is to transcend the limitations of conventional photography, offering viewers a unique window into my subjective interpretation of the world. In this series, I use different techniques to render the paintings, in order to create atmosphere and convey mood. The paintings are completed using impressionistic treatments. I used brushes to simulate the light spots of the sunrise, used colours to bring out the beauty and depression of the sunset, and added some contrasting colours to express the mood of the moment. This series comes from a photo shoot I did in 2019, when I had no experience in photography the photos were not ideal. During the course of this year, I made many adjustments and changes, gradually finding the mood and adding it to the paintings, resulting in what I think is a better sunrise than I’ve ever seen before.
Artist Biography: Yining Ren, a Chinese artist, is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Canada. Specializing in painting and printmaking with a keen interest in cultural fusion and innovation, Yining aims to convey emotions and promote cultural awareness through artistic expression. In the summer of 2023, Yining returned to China and joined Bulb Network Technology Co. in his hometown of Zibo. He actively participated in three projects and assumed the role of lead designer in one of the projects.