Senior thesis exhibit unveiled April 26

UIU art major Mitchell Erlandson of New Hampton, Iowa, will be among the featured artists during the senior thesis exhibit at UIU’s Bing-Davis Gallery in Fayette Thursday, April 26 - Saturday, May 5. The exhibit will also include the works of Shaquille Hughes, Chicago, Illinois; Kyra Shirk, Mason City, Iowa; and Krystin Noe, Newton, Iowa.

The 2017-18 Bing-Davis Memorial Gallery artists’ schedule concludes with a senior thesis exhibit featuring the works of Upper Iowa University (UIU) students Mitchell Erlandson, Shaquille Hughes, Kyra Shirk and Krystin Noe. A reception for the four UIU art majors is scheduled from 4 – 7 p.m. at Bing-Davis Gallery on Thursday, April 26. The public exhibit will remain open during regular gallery hours through the University’s Saturday, May 5, commencement ceremonies.

“Each of these exhibits are very different and showcase the strengths of each student,” said UIU Assistant Professor of Art Laura Gleissner. “Photography, plaster cast, ceramics, drawing, painting, installation and printmaking are all featured in this exhibition. The entire art department is proud of how this group of seniors finished so very strong.”

Mitchell Erlandson – New Hampton, Iowa – Innocence Abroad
Since his childhood, Erlandson has loved to draw and has been encouraged by his family and friends to become an artist. He began this path by exploring the world of art and learning different approaches in design.

After receiving an Associate of Arts degree from Northeast Iowa Community College in Calmar, Iowa, Erlandson transferred to UIU to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. At UIU, he studied sculpture, painting, graphic design and screen printing. He specializes in sketching with pen and ink, and illustrates his experiences while traveling.

“While I have interest in many forms of art, my medium is painting and drawing,” Erlandson said. “One of my favorite things to do in life is travel and being an artist who travels is a great experience. Visiting Italy as part of the UIU studying abroad program was a great experience in my life. Journeying through cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice, not only helped me learn more about art and architecture but provided me a firsthand opportunity to witness classic artwork from before the age of Christianity.”

Shaquille Hughes – Chicago, Illinois – Inner Conflict

Utilizing mixed media, music and woodcutting installation artwork, Hughes challenges each individual observer’s perception of the world that they believe every living organism resides in.

“With a mixture of nature and emotional expression, I am to pull the minds of the common individual into the mind of the troubled,” Hughes said. “Through the recreation of environments to show the split in my perception of what is reality or normal, paves the way for my vision of mixed realms.”

Kyra Shirk – Mason City, Iowa – How Does It Make You Feel?

Shirk enjoys painting, sculpture and drawing. Most of her inspiration comes from psychology and how people display their emotions and associate colors with different emotions.

“Through this exploration, it is helping me listen to and acknowledge the different emotions that I am feeling,” Shirk said. “These emotions are then brought into my art as a way to get me and others to try and talk about subjects that can be difficult to open up about and discuss.”

Following her graduation from UIU, Shirk hopes to begin the process of qualifying to become a child life specialist and eventually work at a children’s hospital.


Krystin Noe – Newton, Iowa – Phobophobia: The Fear of Fearing
The human psyche has fascinated Noe since she was in a horrific car accident at the age of 18. Suffering from severe head trauma, she lost all recollection of who she was and had to relearn everyday habits. Today, her total recall memory extends from the age of 14. However, a majority of these memories are based on stories told, rather than the remembrance of the actual experience.

With parents who were naturally gifted artists, Noe was inspired to study the arts. Most of her recent work has been influenced by the psychological, child-like vulnerability associated with fear. Through the art of mixed media and photography, her lens captures the restlessness beyond the body and unveils the susceptible soul underneath.

“A majority of my work reflects those struggles that happen within the mind,” Noe said. “I didn’t want to learn how to draw the perfect pear or paint landscapes, I wanted to create something that was real. I wanted others to feel what I felt, when they looked at my art. That was when I began to realize my artwork would evoke emotions that were buried deep beneath the surface, and I began my journey exploring art and psychology at Upper Iowa University.”

Bing-Davis Memorial Gallery is located in Edgar Fine Arts Hall at Upper Iowa University’s Fayette Campus. The gallery is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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