“Roundabout” is the latest exhibit featured in Samford’s Art Gallery and consists of a small collection of various works created by Samford alumni.
Lauren Evans, Samford art professor and director of the gallery, curated “Roundabout” after coming up with the idea for the collection a couple of years ago during a zoom call with Kaitlin West, Nicole Weldy and Molly Lay. As they shared their experiences in graduate school with Evans’ senior class, Evans came up with the idea.
“[In that moment] I thought, ‘These three need to do a show,’” said Evans.
The goal of the exhibit is to showcase artwork created by Samford alumni during their years at graduate school. When Evans pitched this idea to her colleagues, they suggested she add Connor Gayda to the mix, since he was also a Samford alumnus pursuing a master’s in fine arts (MFA) degree.
The name “Roundabout” was inspired by the alumni artists themselves and their time at Samford. Evans thoughtfully considered how Samford and Birmingham act as the middle point for alumni to reconnect with their roots.
“All these artists all connect through Birmingham,” said Evans.
Evans captured this theme in the image of a roundabout as it represents the idea of students coming and going from different hometowns and backgrounds.
The pieces showcased in the exhibition were chosen by Evans, with intent to communicate her vision of “Roundabout” and to represent the four artists through their various works of art.
Weldy has a McDonald’s series, which depicts a belief she learned while studying abroad: the western hemisphere largely associates the American identity with a McDonald’s Big Mac. Weldy commented on this through her McDonald’s series: “Molds & McFake Study,” “Yahweh of America,” “Everyday MickeyD’s,” “McSimple” and “PB & J.”
West makes life-size sculptures utilizing stones, brick and concrete slabs. After molding the sculptures, West transfers her self-taken photographs onto the slabs. Her works include: “Leaning Slab,” “That Shadow That Never Leaves You,” “The Escape” and “Who Are You, Really?” She likes to make the audience feel uncomfortable and tense through the depth of her artwork.
“All of my art refers to mental health, representing the tension within people, of feeling uncomfortable within their skin,” said West.
Gayda’s works are typographical collages and prints that elicit social and cultural cues, especially in his one piece “America Has Room For Everyone.”
Lay’s featured sculptures, “Curiosity I,” “Curiosity II,” “Curiosity III” and “Feet Sinking into the Earth,” are made from constructive elements such as wire, aluminum, brick and thread. She also has as a graphite sketch called “Stubborn as a Dandelion” drawn on abaca paper.
The four artists have flourished in the art field. West is currently a 3D design professor at Samford, Weldy is finishing up her last semester at Clemson University, Gayda is pursuing his MFA at the University of Jacksonville and Lay is now a freelance artist doing work with advertising companies.
“Roundabout” will be on display from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16 in the Samford Art Gallery.