Galleries of Contemporary Art
Ways of Seeing: Senior Visual Art Majors Exhibition

Ways of Seeing: Senior Visual Art Majors Exhibition

April 21–May 13, 2017

Marina Atchison, Susannah Barnes, Leia Belgrave, Amber Cruz, Nina Foster, Caitlin Goebel, Nathan Hodges, Frances Huntington, Collin King, Shanah Leaf, Thia Lynn, Jacob Scott, Summer Stapleton, Nancy Vongsengkeo, and Amanda Weeks


Events are free, but space is limited—register to secure your spot.

"Every image embodies a way of seeing" —John Berger

Featuring the work of 15 vibrant artists, Ways Of Seeing is sure to delight. This exhibit displays the cumulative work of graduating Senior Visual Art (VAPA) Majors at UCCS. From start to finish, the artists own every aspect of the exhibit. Curated, designed, and installed by the graduating class, this collaborative effort spans the course of the spring semester. Students determine how and what will be displayed to best represent them as they embark on their lifelong creative paths. Working across all media, students explore movements throughout art history from their own perspective.


Marina Atchison
Marina Atchison was born in 1994 in Fort Lewis, Washington and currently lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Atchison received her Associate of Arts at Pikes Peak Community College in 2015 and is will complete her Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2017. Atchison was included in various group exhibitions including the Winter Student Show at the Downtown Studio Art Gallery at Pikes Peak Community College and Midline-Shift at the Heller Center for Arts & Humanities, both in Colorado Springs, CO.

Each piece has a story behind it, but the viewer is usually never able to see it. The artist statement is supposed to be my way of telling you that story without taking away what you imagine the story to be. Like a book, my collection recreates images that I imagine afterlife, or the "better place" to resemble. Like a story that builds through memory and imagination, I hope that everyone who views my work can dream the story with me. The thing about leaving the physical world and forgetting everything is that the stories left behind are eternal.

Susannah Barnes | Instagram: SusannahBarnesArt
Susannah Barnes was born in 1972 in Maryland. She received an Associate's degree in Advertising Design in 1992, an Associate's degree in Architectural Drafting in 1999, and will receive her Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in May 2017. She began her art career designing commercial work for various employers and organizations and then took a break to raise her children. She returned to school studying and designing contemporary art. She has exhibited her work in group student shows at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. After graduating she will pursue her teaching license and go on to teach secondary art.

Inspired by the Colorado landscape where I live, as well as common symbolic images, I use paint and paper cutting techniques to design graphic compositions that explore geometric shapes, line, space, and color. My current series of work portrays images that flow and create connections through dynamic non-linear patterns and movement. The images are simple and tell the story of a moment in time, memorializing it, as though looking at a narrative on a stained-glass window.

Leia Belgrave
Leia Belgrave was born in 1994 in Colorado Springs. She grew up in a very artistic family. Her grandmother was a cartoonist, her mother is a graphic artist, and her older brother is a tattoo artist. Their artistic talents and careers gave her a lot of inspiration and drive in her own creative path. She is currently a senior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where she is a Visual Arts major. In her work, she mainly focuses on the subject of nature and pop-culture. Using paint, wood panels, canvases, and other various materials, she creates paintings and drawings that discuss our societies interactions with nature and with pop-culture icons.

I aim to take my audience on a journey through Art History. A journey in which the modern pop-culture icon, Spock, has been deified in order to create an alternative narrative where modern culture converges with Christian portraiture from Classical Antiquity. Spock, as well as a countless number of other fictional characters and celebrities are being obsessed over to such a high degree in our society, that they are idolized and worshipped not unlike religious figures. By transforming Spock into religious idols, I am merging these two universes together and subsequently bringing this reality to light while acknowledging my own obsession with Spock.

Amber Cruz |
Amber Cruz was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1993. Cruz works predominantly in sculpture, creating with materials such as plaster gauze and domestic textiles. She will complete a BFA with distinction at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in 2017. A Colorado native, Cruz enjoys spending her time doodling, eating dessert and scorning the cold weather.

We are all human beings, all relatable in that sense, but we all have our inner selves that can only be communicated to a certain extent. Our individual consciousness is a part that can never truly be revealed or understood. Calling upon memory, disparage in domesticity, and feelings of vacancy, the work is a part of my own revealing. In their material, I hope to connect both physical and emotional human wound. Using plaster gauze, traditionally used to help bandage and stabilize a broken body, to represent the healing of an emotional wound, a memory of a broken quandary. The plaster is white, dusty and lifeless. Frayed edges are picked and peeled apart. A cast meant to heal, a scab being picked in irritation and impatience. A memory revisited and ephemeral, changing each time it is reexamined. A wound broken open again.

Nina Foster |
Nina Foster was born in 1995 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She started her art education in 2013 when she first attended Colorado State University - Pueblo and later transferred to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in 2015. She has been included in several group exhibitions and shown her work in local venues, such as the Photography Showcase at Mountain Fold Books in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Foster explores concepts of memory through photography and has recently moved into alternative process photography. She continues to live and work in Colorado Springs and will receive her bachelor's degree in Visual and Performing Arts from the UCCS in May of 2017.

When we are faced with dramatic loss, we latch onto our memories. We often connect memory with objects, which help us to transition through times of flux. This series, Things From my House, depicts the objects I lost when my childhood home burned to the ground in the Waldo Canyon Fire. These objects have stayed put in our shed for four years. They are useless, toxic, pieces of metal that we will never throw away because they are too important. I now see them as symbols of my childhood; the last material reminders of being a kid. I am terrified that my memory will slowly degrade without any physical grounding, because memories that exist only in our mind eventually fade. This work is about memory after the trauma. What you see in this series are simultaneously hunks of junk and the most important pieces of my past.

Caitlin Goebel |
Born in 1989 in Long Beach, California. Her over-the-top, Kitsch-inspired work explores capitalism and consumption, simulacra and simulation, meta-reality and reality, magic and manipulation, and intimacy and wonder. Utilizing fluorescent, metallic, glowing, and glittering materials, Goebel creates paintings, drawings, and collages both inspired by and composed of 20th and 21st Century ephemera such as disposable tablecloths, fast-food advertisements, and pornography. Her work has been featured nationally in group exhibitions, including Juicy at The Front in New Orleans (2017), Gone Soft at Pehrspace in Los Angeles (2016), and Bright Young Things at Gallery of Contemporary Art in Colorado Springs (2015). Her solo exhibitions include Missing the Point at AHA Gallery in Colorado Springs (2016), Correcting/ed Objects at the Heller Center for the Arts and Humanities at University of Colorado Colorado Springs (2015), and Horror Vacui at The Modbo in Colorado Springs (2013). She was co-owner and curator of Rubbish Gallery in Colorado Springs and founder and curator of CLOSED Gallery in Denver. Her most recent curatorial project, Cybercy: Exploring the Post-Internet Human Matrix, opens May 2017 at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Colorado Springs. Goebel is currently pursuing a degree in Visual and Performing Art with a triple emphasis in Visual Art, Art History, and Gallery Management at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

Nathan Hodges
Nathan Hodges was born in Blackfoot, Idaho, but has lived in Colorado Springs for most of his life. He has been making drawings from an early age. He and his two brothers would draw silly, sometimes violent and macabre, but always darkly humorous pictures. Nathan continued to develop his skills and style throughout his early life into adulthood. He made many tattoo designs and made portraits on commission. He didn't make a serious study of art until he was in his 30's, when he enrolled in the Visual Arts program at UCCS. Nathan primarily works in 2D, but experiments in 3D as well. He makes work that depicts distorted and mutated organic forms inspired by his love of science, specifically evolutionary biology. He finds inspiration in the workings of nature, and all the forms that life has produced, both in the beauty of plants and animals, and the macabre beauty of disease and decay. He currently lives in Colorado Springs with his wife Erin.

I make art about mutation. I am drawn to images of organic forms that are in some way deformed or distorted. Through this imagery, I address my feelings about fear, disease, and mortality. I am inspired by my love/obsession with science, specifically biology, and how it can produce such beauty, but also such horror. I am not talking about shock value here. I have no interest in grossing anybody out, although I'm not actively avoiding it. In fact, much of my art depicts beings that if real, would be revolting. They would also inspire sympathy. I am trying to recreate the feeling that it's not polite to stare, but sometimes you can't help yourself.

I explore feelings of self-consciousness, self-loathing, depression, and mental illness. Everybody, no matter their current circumstances, has felt uncomfortably exposed, or been the object of unwanted curiosity. I am compelled to physically manifest these kinds of situations, and let the viewer explore their own feelings about them.

I draw because I can achieve a certain level of realism, while retaining an unpolished and rough look. My style of art is very focused on craftsmanship and detail. The materials and media that I use are pencil and colored pencil on paper. I enjoy the fact that I am creating an illusion, and that I have complete control over everything that the viewer sees.

Frances Huntington |
Frances Huntington was born in 1992 in Salida, Colorado. Her grandparents and parents are both artists, so art was around her since she was young. In 2017 she received her degree in visual and performing arts with an emphasis in visual arts from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She also received a minor in business administration and gallery practice and museum studies. She has completed multiple internships at the Colorado Springs pioneers Museum, Galleries of Contemporary Art at UCCS, and the Heller Center for arts and humanities. Her upcoming group show Ways of Seeing is showing at GOCA in April 2017. Frances Huntington currently lives and works in Colorado Springs, Co.

Through my artwork I express ideas about time, spirituality, femininity, and the temporality of life. I use a wide variety of mixed media, which includes printmaking, painting, photography, and found objects. In my paintings there is an implied relationship to time in the application of the paint. The prints of the lace somewhat resemble mold or decay. The prints in the foreground emanate out and look almost ghostly. And at the same time there is an actual representation of time through the materials and found objects that make up each piece. The lace found throughout my work represents interconnection and domesticity. In the embroidered photographs Pink inside and Pins I also talk about time and the temporality of life. The images of the sewing baskets talk about a different time when domesticity was a more prevalent idea in everyday life. The application of the photographs onto the fabric gives an aged effect. The hand sewn embroidery contrasted with the use of photography collides and old medium with a new medium. The found objects such as the fabrics, lace, and even the wood have already lived a life before I found them and to me that is interesting and crucial to the meaning of my work. Overall I want my work to intrigue viewers and also make them think about time and life on a deeper level.

Collin King |

Collin King was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1996. King uses his passion for animals, anatomy, and cartoons as his three major influences when creating ink drawings and wooden anatomical sculptures. Currently, King is working towards a BA from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 2017 and plans to continue his artistic practice.
Furniture and Friends combines the comforts of furniture and the benefits of friends in a single set. I created Furniture and Friends to bring life and purpose to ordinary inanimate objects. The sculptures maintain their function as furniture and gain relatability through their use of human anatomy. Human anatomy acts as an access point in which one can make a connection with; to make a new friend.

Shanah Leaf |
Shanah Leaf was originally born in Oklahoma City, but moved to Colorado Springs with her parents and older twin brothers when she was 5 years old. She began doodling and drawing on a daily basis until she developed a passion for art and decided to pursue an Art Degree at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her first show was Wunderkind, which she participated in her senior year in High School, while her most recent show (and first solo show) was at the Heller Center on campus at UCCS this past semester. She enjoys UCCS as she is playing for the women's basketball team, majoring in Visual and Performing Arts, and continuing to feed her passion for art daily.

I have been drawing since before I could walk; filling blank page after blank page with unrecognizable shapes and objects for hours at a time. Since before I could consciously understand what I was doing, I have been practicing automatic drawing. Essentially this is doodling. Growing up with ADHD in a standard education system, doodling has been an outlet for me. My learning disability means I find it difficult to process large amounts of information as distractions cause me to lose focus. However, automatic drawing has acted as a calming form of meditation in which I am able to focus specifically on the task-at-hand without distractions from outside thoughts. The reason I feel attached to this automatic drawing practice is that my weakness in learning becomes a strength in the process of my automatic creations. As I have developed my doodles into intricate works that are simultaneously overwhelming and relaxing to look at, I have learned that it is not just someone with ADHD that deals with this struggle of over processing information. I have witnessed first-hand society's distractions due primarily to the instantaneousness of the internet and the façade of social media. There is an overwhelming amount of information to process with the internet in our hands which creates a similar reaction to someone with ADHD. Wholly processing information and focusing on one task at a time feels nearly impossible with the tools we have been given.

The body of work I have created in the last three semesters at UCCS uses automatic drawing to reflect our ability to take an overwhelming amount of information and process it all at once. Most of my work contains a flow of intricate lines without one specific focal point, (much like the way my brain processes information) and intricate details add a tension that would be overwhelming if it was not confined within a framed area. While the intricate detail in my work can certainly be overwhelming, all of my work is confined within a standard frame which allows the viewer to focus on the piece first as a whole and then to break down details within the confined space. Because I desire to create a feeling of movement of lines within a space, I believe that a frame is too confining. For my final piece for the senior art show Ways of Seeing I have decided to take marker to the gallery walls and fill a portion of that space with intricate detailed designs and patterns. I will use the automatic drawing style in order to respond to the space I am in and create a unique detailed pattern that is both intricate and highly controlled yet unconfined. My intention through this artwork is to use the process of automatic drawing to create a work that causes tension between chaos and order, while still revealing the harmony between the two.

Thia Lynn |
Thia Lynn is the West's new contemporary artist whose work explores themes in the shadows of memory. Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico she found inspiration in the remnants from the development of the Atomic Bomb at nearby Los Alamos. She describes her paintings, reliefs, sculptures and installations as reflections in the deterioration of the memory. There is healing as well as an eerie power associated in the materials of Thia's work. The contradicting qualities of the materials utilizing screen, cheesecloth, and the infusion of light show the subtle strengths and vulnerabilities evident in society today.

I grew up in a location that significantly impacted my view of the world. As an artist, I use various materials to express and reflect on the lingering memories I had growing up in the shadow of the Atomic Bomb, developed only 30 miles away in nearby Los Alamos, New Mexico. I have taken the opportunity to explore the contradicting qualities of materials that show strength and vulnerability at the same time. My work with screen, cheesecloth, glass, paint on fabrics and the infusion of light are all brought together to provoke the viewer into exploring their views and internal reactions to their distant memories of this past era. I believe my works are relevant as our society tends to harbor extreme and conflicting views. As generations pass and the memories of the Atomic age begin to fade and deteriorate, what humanity learned from these devastating events may soon be lost into the depths of history. Those with first-hand knowledge and direct experiences of these times will no longer be with us to tell their stories. It is my purpose to capture and explore the meanings we have assigned from our memories of the events from the dawn of the atomic age.

Jacob Scott |
Jacob Scott was born in 1994 in Colorado Springs, CO. In 2017, he received his Bachelors in Visual Arts at the University of Colorado. Upcoming shows include Sex-Ed at The Heller Center for Arts and Humanities, Colorado Springs, CO. Scott currently lives and works in Colorado Springs, CO.

Scott's artwork is one of intimacy and artifice, drawing on his life events, mythology, and sexual culture as inspirations for works ranging from painting, drawing, to needlework and sculpture. These works capture the violent nature of sex, depicting the danger when intimacy is replaced with domination and desire. The influences of sexual culture are revealed by the portraying of a dysmorphic sexual landscape where sex is understood as commodity rather than connection. These works place men as the dual source and object of desire, depicting the sexual forces and influences of culture from a homsexual viewpoint.

Summer Stapleton |
Summer Stapleton is an American artist born in 1988 working out of Colorado Springs, Colorado where she lives with her partner and their son. She will be receiving her Bachelor's degree in Art with a Minor in Anthropology.

I am currently exploring the transformation of memory through recall using mixed media prints. My work often revolves around a female perspective on familial relationships and status. I am inspired by literature, anthropology, linguistics, nature, science, journalism, and of course artists that came before me and are working presently.

Nancy Vongsengkeo |
Nancy Vongsengkeo is a contemporary artist motivated to honestly represent the relationship between her past and present. She creates mixed-media paintings that express her inner emotions of her experiences of living in two very different cultures. Her paintings allow her to explore her experiences within each culture and the effects they have had on her growth and personality.
Vongsengkeo was born in Fresno, California and raised in West Valley City, Utah. She was influenced by growing up in two separate societies - an American at school and a Laotian at home. The vast differences in how she was treated by each society resulted in a struggle for her identity. Each culture had different expectations for her behavior and for who she could be. She uses her work to show the effects of trying to live up to expectations of each culture.

After moving to Colorado, she returned to College and finally pursued her interest in art. She will receive her Visual Art degree from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in Spring 2017. She is very passionate about both the arts and education. She hopes to inspire others to pursue both further education and their own personal passions so they can grow into the best version of themselves possible. She hopes for a world where people develop and utilize critical thinking to try to understand all the various worlds they encounter on a daily basis.

My personal experiences as a first-generation American-Laotian citizen generated an exploration between my past and present sensibilities within my work. My current series reveals these emotions as a struggle between my two cultures. In my body of work, Whitewashed, I show the experience of "returning home" to my "tribe" only to be treated as if I've become an outsider, no longer accepted. I try to show how I've changed and grown, yet the "tribe" insists I must conform to the old ideals, to an older version of myself. I use this piece to show the pain and struggle of wanting to be accepted as who I am while my "tribe" insists I can only be Asian - that anything else is a betrayal of my culture.

Amanda Weeks |
Amanda Weeks is currently a student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, working towards her Bachelors in Photography. Her work explores lights and colors, but also has a tendency to look towards nature with an abstract viewpoint. Amanda uses long exposure times and focus on color to inspire her and evoke a sense of time. She continues to document and explore the landscapes around her, the influence of humans on these places, and hopes to continue exploring more of the world and its' natural wonders.

In 2011, I was first introduced to the wonderful and amazing land of Yellowstone National Park, and I have never been the same since. As human beings, these places can have profound effects on our physical and emotional well-being. Nature provides something that nothing else can. Natural resource extraction and the consequences of, are big themes central to my series Degradation. The National Parks are the focus of this series because they give so much more to the community around them than just incredible landscapes. I'm interested in delving into not only the beauty of these places, but also in showing what destruction we can cause if these places aren't properly taken care of.