From April 6 to April 16, senior art students Aspen Herzog and Nicole Weldy will have their senior projects on display in a joint exhibition in the Samford Art Gallery.
Herzog’s show “Influencers” is a response to the growing dominance of social media’s influence on the younger generation. In her show, Herzog pays tribute to all of the stories and people that have influenced her life.
“I realized that our generation, and especially people younger than us growing up in the technology age, are being so heavily influenced by little 2×2 squares on the screen and short videos,” Herzog said. “Growing up, I was being influenced by literary characters and books and biographies of people that I was reading from the 19th and 20th century. I wanted to do a tribute show to all of those characters and people that I was reading about that really influenced my faith, my character and my imagination, so that’s what I did.”
The three largest pieces in Herzog’s show are charcoal portraits of her largest influencers: C.S. Lewis, Corrie Ten Boom and Elizabeth Elliot. Surrounding those portraits are small pieces that depict scenes from books, characters from stories and vivid maps of important places.
Herzog explained how seeing all of her work displayed together in the gallery was a surreal experience.
“For the better part of a year, I have been working on this body of work, and I didn’t really know what it was going to look like. Seeing it all displayed in the way that I wanted it to be, it was just like an exhale. Like oh, it’s done, and it’s how I imagined it,” Herzog said.
While Herzog’s show looked to the past, Weldy’s exhibition captured the present with her COVID-19-inspired show “United Through The Arts.”
“It’s a collection of work that describes and data marks my quarantine experience in relation to what other people experienced through the pandemic, through quarantine regulations and through COVID,” Weldy said. “It describes how society felt alone, but at the same time, it’s the closest we’ve ever been to one another.”
Weldy’s show features a variety of mixed media and interactive art pieces that range from conformed clay sculptures, a nearly six foot tall colored pencil drawing of an iPhone and a gigantic dodecahedron made entirely of Duct Tape hands.
Weldy said that her desire was to create art that displayed what the world was going through during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some people feel like we need to skip over 2020. It’s not that a year went missing, it’s that it’s a year of untold stories,” Weldy said. “So ‘United Through The Arts’ is me telling my story and the people around me’s stories of what was happening.”
While both shows draw heavy influence from the world around them, Herzog ascribed the reason as to why they work together so well to be the differences between the two artists.
“I was just really excited to share the gallery with Nicole because I felt like our styles were so different that it would be good because it wouldn’t look like we were the same show. But at the same time, she works so prevalently in 3D and I’m so strictly 2D that it just worked,” Herzog said.
“United Through The Arts” and “Influencers” will be on display until April 16. The Samford Art Gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about Weldy and Herzog’s work, visit @nicole_anne_weldy_art and @papertreesstudio on Instagram.