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Scholars Symposium 2023: Art, Design & Theatre

To advocate and advance the scholarly work of students and faculty at Cedarville University

Art, Design, & Theatre

Gift of Grace

by Sydney Mason (Undergraduate)

I am submitting a sculpture entitled “Gift of Grace.” It is shaped like a cinder block, made out of a light colored wood, whose dimensions are 13” x 13” x 26,” exactly double the size of an actual cinder block. The 8 inner corners are rounded, so that there are no sharp crevices. The wood is not stained, but is finished with polyurethane. It is incredibly smooth and sanded, without a singular sharp edge. It was created as a narrative piece, as it reflects a personal story of the Lord’s power. Whilst on a mission trip with my church, I was struck on the head with a cinder block from two stories above me, and escaped unscathed besides a few stitches, and did not experience any pain from this injury. At a time in my life when I was doubting, the Lord revealed to me his faithfulness in a very physical way. And thus I created this physical, larger-than-life testament to his power and providence. The Lord took this rough building material (a block used to build homes) and perfected it for his purposes: causing me to grow in my love and knowledge of him. Therefore, “Gift of Grace,” though large and heavy, is smoothed and finished so as to reflect how carefully crafted the plans of the Lord are. Though the sufferings the Lord places in our path may first appear to be destructive when they fall on us, they are truly beautiful, intentional, and worthy of gratitude as they sanctify


The Human Bind

by Natalie Carol Tracey (Undergraduate)

My goal in creating this piece, titled The Human Bind, was to visualize my own perspective of human connection. Everyone that we experience touches us in some way. We are all comprised of pieces of one another. We will always have these small ties, some more conscious than others. People are so vastly different in nature and our perceptions of life can result in conflicting ideas, despite these links. My subject matter was non-existent, as I wanted to make this piece without prior preparation. I put some recognizable details, such as faces and fruits, but also many non-representational aspects. I want the viewer to appreciate the small hints of cohesion the piece gives, but also spend moments finding the unique details and studying the deeper parts of the composition.

The Human Bind is painted on thick cardstock, sourced from the backing of a picture frame. It is composed of many layers of different mediums, starting with acrylic paint. The composition is created using a blend of sharpie, puffy paints, food dye, acrylic, paint pens, and pencils (graphite and colored). The first composition that you see can be broken into many different smaller compositions. The content includes non-objective as well as recognizable shapes. It is a maximalist piece with the intention of being a lot to take in. Elements of movement, shape, line, and motion are visible, and differentiated by multiple textures. When the viewer looks at the piece, I want their eyes to dart all around, trying to find the elements of cohesion.

Lately Laminar

by Joshua David Jones (Undergraduate)

Lately Laminar was created out of paper, with a wire understructure supported by a wooden base. This paper was cut, folded, and glued together to create the entire piece.

Lately Laminar is comprised of multiple leaf-like paper forms, which slowly climb and move in an arc motion to create the form. This non-objective piece aims to represent a slow, methodical progression. For this piece, I was inspired by the Japanese art of Bonsai, the practice of slowly shaping, or moving, a tree to fit a specific artistic design. I also wanted to emphasize unity by creating a large quantity of the same shape and then combining those shapes into one piece. Lately Laminar catches the eye with its harsh sense of line but leads the eyes around the whole piece through its many leaflets.

The Dream

by Angela C. Delano (Undergraduate)

The Dream is a digital artwork created freehand using Procreate on the iPad. Made using a stylized version of semi-realism, it works with such principles of design as scale, space, balance, movement, pattern, and emphasis. The image is meant to convey a sense of looseness, to recreate the sensation of a dream, not unlike one where the dreamer is falling, only to wake up before they hit the ground. The ethereal lighting, the endless buildings, and the man suspended in mid-air all work to evoke this exploration of disorientation and a lack of control. The drawing is meant to make the viewer ponder the nature of control within the recesses of their mind, and to consider in whom or in what they put their trust.


by Nina Friess (Undergraduate)

"Havilah" is a realistic portrait of my family’s Shetland sheepdog, Havilah, in colored pencil. Havilah is a blue merle with natural grey and brown mottled fur and dark eyes. In the portrait, her head is upturned, and her mouth open as if laughing. While not hyperrealistic, this portrait accurately depicts Havilah’s appearance and coloring. In composition, I attempted to capture the liveliness of Havilah’s personality, something that is extremely apparent when interacting with her in person. Just as the dog herself is full of energy and life, I wanted to express these same sentiments through her portrait. The name “Havilah” is drawn from the creation story of Eden in Genesis chapter 2 and is a reminder to me of the perfect joy that can be found in fellowship with God—a fellowship that was broken by man but will someday be restored for those who trust in Christ. I gave Havilah her name as a reminder of that reality--that we are not yet in our future home, but that it is coming soon. Since moving away to school, I created this portrait to remind me of Havilah, and to set my focus on my eternal reality as a believer in Christ, trusting in God’s goodness as Creator and Restorer.


Everyman Costume Design

by Rachel V. Knierim (Undergraduate)

Everyman, the 15th c. morality play has been appreciated by audiences for centuries. Despite its age, antiquated genre, and overtly Catholic message the play still presents modern audiences with many redeemable themes. Everyman tells the story of an archetypal journey through life toward death. In the play, Everyman is confronted by Death and ordered to begin his journey to the grave. All of Everyman’s allegorical acquaintances refuse to follow him—all except Good Deeds. The play, leaning heavily on a Catholic tradition of works-based salvation, presents Goods Deeds as a frail female character who only needs to be strengthened by Everyman’s action to be strong enough to accompany Everyman to his grave and stand before God. Although Everyman clearly presents a works-based message of salvation, I think it is possible to subvert this mistaken message through the visual mode of costuming. While the script presents Good Deeds as an assistant in Everyman’s salvation allowing him to stand before God uncondemned, the Scriptures offer a very different image of good deeds. Isaiah 64:6 describes human works of righteousness as “filthy rags.” Designing Good Deeds’ costume to reflect the idea of dirty rags contradicts the play's misunderstanding, visually emphasizing her frailty. This frailty is further emphasized by giving her crutches to lean on, depicting the feebleness of human righteousness, even at its strongest. Everyman’s inevitable death and meager earthly existence are emphasized through his tattered clothing inspired by undergarments and burial clothing of the 1400s. In the end, Everyman is left in his grave with nothing but the rags of his Good Deeds to cover him, emphasizing the fact that every individual will stand before God stripped of all earthy goods and achievements, covered only by the incriminating remain of their sins, or what they thought were good deeds. This poster project presents two costume sketches, one of Everyman and the other of Good Deeds, accompanied by a detailed rationale and description, resulting in artful redemption of the play’s message through costume design that emphasizes the futility of man’s good deeds regarding salvation.

Fence & Seed

by Ian Joel (Undergraduate)

Capturing scenes with fences and propeller-seeds, six drawings construct a tense, silent atmosphere. Secondary subjects include mollusk-like creatures and mysterious typography. I hope for this body of work to withstand our attempts to assert it into theme, for it to testify the indifferent, concrete form of experience.

Implied light and value render varying textures: the splintery surface of the fence, the ripples in the skin of the creatures, the smooth petals of the propeller-seeds. Space appears in the rhythmic positioning of foreground, midground, and background: the creatures in the foreground, the fence in the midground, and an expanse of misty atmosphere in the background. The drawings present both an unsettling tension and a calm quietness. Tension appears in the compositions packed with elements closely relating to one another. Yet, these compositions build on foundational elements of calmness: horizontal line and negative space. Horizontal line, implied by the fence and repeated in the typography, serves as a stable backbone for the compositions; negative space, the airy background, expands beyond the borders of the work, conveying a feeling of openness that absorbs sound.

Through my time working with Fence & Seed, I was able to rethink how our language relates to experience. While language is concept which exists only within our range of consciousness, experience always exceeds our consciousness; for example, when we observe an apple, we can accurately perceive and express its color through language, yet we remain unconscious of the innumerable sum of events, that is the physical, anatomical, or psychological mechanics, the experience, that culminates in the apple’s color. This distance between language and experience may be the distance between human language and divine language; human language operates within the reality defined by divine language, unable to exhaust or exceed reality.

I conclude that the function of our language is not to replicate experience, but rather, to associate multiple experiences with one another. This conclusion pressures me to clarify our usage of language, namely, to suggest our words should not attempt to describe experience, but rather, should construct a cognitive bridge between experiences — even when this may seem impossible.

"Passing Time"

by Samuel M. Fish (Undergraduate)

In the geometric abstraction style, “Passing Time” demonstrates an escalating level of abstraction through three colored pencil compositions of a wristwatch. This 14 inch by 17 inch work uses the three compositions to shift from a normal wristwatch to an explosive array of colorful shapes. Each composition builds off the previous by preserving major shapes and values from the previous composition. By submitting this piece, I intend to demonstrate the use of the principles of design and explore what time is. The colored pencils on Bristol paper media lent to the vivid colors. By blending the colored pencils and working them into the paper, their vivid hues come out. Because of their malleability, the pencils allowed for subtle color shifts, which contributes to the sense of movement and space. In the intentional use of space, shape, and color this piece tells a story of an ordinary watch morphing into a swirl of shapes and color. The use of these elements and principles of design helps portray the mystery of time.


Our Hauntings and How They Sculpt Us

by Maxwell P. Bubnis (Undergraduate)

Every time I pick up material, I want to tell a story. That story leads back to this idea of loss, hardships, struggles and past events that shapes us as humans. This rawness of human imperfection is almost unavoidable. It’s like we’re all haunted, but not by ghosts. We’re haunted by experiences both bad and good that create and mature us into us. Even our happiest of memories are an organic, unique experience. My body of work is an attempt to digest these emotions and share those feelings with the viewer.

I am fascinated by organic shapes, marks and textures and the part they play in a piece of work. My goal is to suggest a message not just through a general composition, but how these marks are applied within the work as well. Some of these images are abstract, some of them are self portraits in an attempt to understand myself, and some are of everyday people and objects that hold their own hauntings that go untold.

My presentation dives into my different pieces specifically, and the motivations and mediums behind them. I will share how these stories all come together to give one big main idea of the imperfect memories that sculpt us.


Visual Articulations of a Pilgrimage

by Emily Herbst (Undergraduate)

My work primarily deals with the questions that permeate my Christian perspective of existence with the underpinning of my work and practice being my faith in the Creator God. Creating is a deeply personal matter where I seek to understand, relate to, and wrestle with my Creator and the reality He has woven together. My desire is to trace the threads of this Divine tapestry, striving to behold and grasp the Divine Himself. The corollary of this pursuit becomes a visual journal cataloging the celebrations, laments, and meditations accumulated while on this pilgrimage.

Visually, I mainly deal with images and forms relating to human anatomy, nature, and common objects. I utilize materials that best communicate concepts and symbols of Christianity, namely clay, oil paint, and thread. I’m drawn to explore themes that revolve around facets of life and death, humanity and divinity, physicality and spirituality, ephemerality and eternality and the ways in which they relate to one another. What I create is the outworking of navigating the thoughts, feelings, and experiences in relation to these themes and the attempt to connect, resolve, and reconcile them in the process.

My intention for this presentation is to walk through my visual journey thus far and elaborate on the context and concept that elicited each piece. My aim is to note God’s gracious, providential hand in stitching these moments and aspects of my life into an infinitesimal portion of His universal tapestry.


From Dust to Dust

by Madelaine L. B. Smith (Undergraduate)

From Dust to Dust is a sculptural ceramic piece that I made to represent how God has intentionally created each of us, yet we are only on the earth for a fleeting moment. The sculpture itself is made of a pair of ceramic lungs, painted with acrylics. The lungs are a dingy pink color which causes the onlooker to question whether they are dying or coming to life. The sculpture is intricate, with many carved details and additive coils of clay that give it texture. The lungs are meant to be displayed in a bed of soil with some sprouts around it. The soil encourages viewers to contemplate the meaning of the sculpture, thinking about how the Lord grows us throughout our lives.

Most of my work as an artist revolves around relationships between people, families, and individual relationship with God. This project is intended to make viewers ponder the privilege of life, even if only on the earth for a fleeting moment.


Preserving Innocence

by Hannah Grace Smith (Undergraduate)

Throughout my art, I pay homage to my childhood and the memories that have shaped who I am today. I call my art series "Preserving Innocence" as a tribute to the childlike wonder I once had but lost during my teenage years. The realization of my own loss filled me with sadness and longing for my youth. To recapture that feeling, I depict the most cherished moments of my childhood through various mediums, including images of my homes, pets, and childhood toys. I hope to use art as a portal to revisit the innocence of my youth and preserve my memories for eternity.

I believe that childhood plays a vital role in shaping one's personality and future. Our experiences and surroundings during this time shape our interests and passions, which often influence the choices we make as adults. That's why I aim to reflect the importance of a supportive and nurturing environment for a child's growth and development in my art. I hope that my work will resonate with others and serve as a reminder of the impact our childhood has on our lives today. By reflecting on our past, we can better understand ourselves as individuals and find meaning in our experiences. I would like to remind others of their youth so they may be reminded of their childlike innocence and passions, recognizing the key influences that made them who they are today.


AI Art: a Digital Revolution

by Caleb D. Booth (Undergraduate)

Artificial Intelligence image generation systems are disrupting the way people make and consume art. This paper introduces this revolutionary technology by following its current and foreseeable impact on society in the near future. The focus of this paper is on the integration of artificial intelligence into the field of art and addressing various ethical concerns from a Christian perspective.


Change of Seasons

by Olivia Joy Fish (Undergraduate)

Life is ever-changing. Seasons come and go, and life continues. With each season of life comes new responsibilities and new adventures. Watching time passing and life-changing can be daunting. In the art print Change of Seasons, the subject of time and change is conceptualized. Change of Seasons is a linocut print. The visual work I am proposing for the scholar symposium is the art print Change of Seasons. A linocut print is where one takes a piece of Lino and carves into it. The Lino that’s left behind will be inked and used in a similar fashion to a stamp. Using this process, multiple copies of an art piece can be created. This art print is thirty inches long and twenty-two inches wide. The print’s composition is inspired by Japanese culture. The scene of the print is set in a Japanese-style home. In the print, a young woman stands in a room looking on as an older woman makes tea. The walls of the room have images of a rooster and a tiger. Both the rooster and the tiger are symbols of passing time in Japan. Incense burns in the corner of the room. In Japan, incense is used ceremonially. In the past, it was often used to tell time. Through the doorway in the center of the room, two cherry blossom trees and a path leading to a gate can be seen. The goal of this art piece is to convey the beauty of different seasons of life. We should not look at the passing of time as bad but notice the beauty in change and contentment in the state of life we are in. This art print was also meant to show aspects of Japanese culture through the use of symbols and storytelling. Change of Seasons is meant to cause contemplation of life and grant insight into a different culture and its symbols.


The Room

by Lynsey K. Stratton (Undergraduate)

The Room was made using the drypoint etching method of printmaking. This method involves using a sharp needle-like tool to make incisions on a thin sheet of plastic creating a raised burr to which ink clings. The plate is then wiped off and rolled through a press with damp paper to create the finished prints. This print showcases the shelves found in my grandparents’ storage room. The shelves hold objects, all of which refer to stories that span many years. The focal point of the piece is a baby mobile that was once found above my father’s crib and now hangs in front of the dusty shelves. Other notable objects within the picture plane include toy trucks, crystal antiques, ornamental vases, and small angel figurines. Although the piece is fully black and white, I utilized the density of marks to show light and dark values that create a sense of light in the illusionistic space and unity within the chaos of the overall composition. The work was inspired by a conversation I had with my grandfather about the stories and memories that are cherished through tangible objects. Through this piece, I ultimately wish to shed a light on the different reasons humanity often holds so tightly to their physical belongings. In 1 Samuel 7:12, we read about Samuel setting up a stone as an act of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. I hope The Room may serve as a visual call to focus not only on sweet, albeit worldly moments but also to remember the Lord’s steadfast faithfulness and love for His people.


Internalized Emotions

by Sophia R. Tonti (Undergraduate)

The piece that I’m submitting to the symposium is a colorful, non-objective painting that I completed last semester. It’s a large [insert dimensions], square oil painting titled Internalized Emotions. My abstract paintings are often created with my mood and current feelings in mind. This specific painting does not depict anything representational. Rather, it captures a personal moment in my life that cannot be described with recognizable symbols or shapes. A common theme throughout my piece is the strong sense of movement and direction. Creating a sense of a consecutive flow and rhythm is very important to me when I’m painting non-objectives. Abstract paintings allow the viewer to experience something that they can’t always explain with words; and that’s something I appreciate the most about them.


Makeup Bag (to conceal)

by Olivia Marie Stipe (Undergraduate)

The piece that I will be submitting is my first project for my Sculpture Foundations course, where we were challenged to choose a verb and create a piece from wood that embodies the verb. The verb I chose was “to conceal” because I’ve been thinking about what we choose to hide and cover up in our lives and how we present ourselves. The piece is made from a divided log that the inside has been carved out of to create a cavity on both sides, which are secured together with a hinge to create a box. The title of the piece is a reference to the extreme lengths that women go to for beauty. It’s absurd to call this huge thing a makeup bag, but that’s the point. We go to absurd lengths to stay beautiful, implementing all types of Orwellian technology and an extreme amount of effort to reach an ever-changing standard.

This piece is meant to highlight that absurdity, and the material is intended to allude to our natural state as a part of nature. The log itself has been shaped into something that it’s not, using power tools and a lot of effort. We don’t like these standards that we’ve created; most women are tired of working towards them, yet we all continue to adhere. I think that this piece displays the type of striving that we subject ourselves to as we try to reach this standard.

When I talked about this piece with my female friends, we laughed about the fact that if someone told us that we needed this bag for our makeup, we might buy it. Why do we as people feel this need to see ourselves as presentable? Why is there this constant pressure to be perceived as perfect, and yet it’s common knowledge that our own faces are never good enough to face the world? What would happen if we embraced our natural state instead of carving away our depth inside in the name of “beauty?”


Romans 12:2

by Andrea K. Drews (Undergraduate)

The piece I am proposing to submit is titled Romans 12:2. This eight-edition print is a multi-color linocut done with burnt orange, emerald green, and navy water-soluble inks. The print features a monarch caterpillar and butterfly hanging on a stalk of milkweed. Romans 12:2 features complementary colors and a picture-book aesthetic.

For the past four summers, I have found much joy in raising monarchs from eggs to butterflies. I am mesmerized by the transformative nature of the monarch life cycle– the caterpillar makes and climbs into its cocoon and comes out ten days later completely transformed into a new shape, color, and pattern. Metamorphosis reflects the biblical concept of transformation in that we become entirely new individuals when we come to Christ. We have a part in the renewal of our minds by allowing our thoughts, motives, and attitudes to be shaped by God’s Spirit speaking through His Word, rather than the world around us. And one day, we will leave the dark, confining chrysalis of this life, fully and finally transformed.


Weary Traveler

by Abigail L. Harmon (Undergraduate)

Weary Traveler is a drypoint engraving on plexiglass, printed with black ink onto an 18” x 14” piece of white paper. The work portrays a weary backpacked man with a staff trudging past a fork in a trail. The fork is marked by a post with two arrows pointing to the left and to the right. The left trail borders withering trees and shrubs while the trail to the right skirts luscious grass and three flourishing trees. The variations of lights and darks are formed by cross-hatching, and the casted shadows indicate a light source in the top right corner.

The two trails in this composition stand for the two ways that can be taken in life. The trail to the left stands for the way of sin that leads to destruction. This way may seem right to man, but its end is death. The trail to the right resembles the way of obedience and fear of the Lord that leads to eternal life. The way is narrow and the journey may be lonely, but in taking this path there is hope—for what lies ahead is far greater than all momentary affliction.


Untitled (Perforations)

by Daniel Seth Rothermel (Undergraduate)

Perforations is a wooden three dimensional art work. Using walnut wood, the piece measures 17” in height, 12” in width, and 7” in depth.

I used Ursula Von Rysingsvard’s work as a way to understand how wood can be formed in order to surprise. I made use of wood and wood glue to build something up and then perforate it, making an abstract sculpture. I adhered to the basics of Ursula’s methods in how she sculpts, with a few minor modifications of my own. I also incorporated finishing materials poured on as a way to speak to the abundance of ebbs and flows that come from intentional and unintentional perforation.

Perforations employs movement in its design through a variety of shapes. The perforations in the work itself move light around in peculiar ways. There is a slight variety in the shapes that I used, but an over all unity is achieved through repetition.

I’ve seen a lot of perforation lately. Holes in my relationships with others, holes in my car, a hole in my face that my tooth pierced; perforations serve a number of purposes. One purpose of perforations is to make something easier to separate. Sometimes perforations occur as indicators of stress to the body, such as in intestinal perforation (don’t look that up).

Wherever perforations occur, they mean that something will or needs to change, but change is not always a comfortable thing to deal with. The SOM foundation (an architectural organization) defines cultural perforation through architecture as a “disruption of the defined”; that definition holds for all kinds of perforation, not only in architecture. Perforation leads to intentional and positive change.