Student Work Featured at Lansing Art Gallery

The Lansing Art Gallery recently opened the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition (MCAE), a first-ever exhibition to engage the next generation of creative entrepreneurs. The exhibit, which opened March 1, includes the work of nine students from MSU’s College of Arts & Letters.

Each artist was chosen for their respective artwork and creative abilities, and their pieces will be on display through Tuesday, March 28, at the Lansing Art Gallery, 119 N. Washington Square. A reception and awards ceremony is set for Friday, March 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. One of the three jurors for the exhibition was Bruce Mackh, Assistant Professor in MSU’s Department of Art, Art History, and Design and Director of the Arts and Cultural Management program.

The MCAE, which is co-sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters and College of Communications Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, encourages artistic excellence, provides networking opportunities, and enhances professional capacity by giving young artists from universities and colleges across the state an opportunity to display their work in a highly regarded gallery.

Besides the MSU students, the other universities and colleges represented in the exhibition include Albion College, Alma College, Central Michigan University, College for Creative Studies, Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Western Michigan University.

Students from MSU’s College of Arts & Letters with work featured in the exhibition include:

Laura Baszynski

Major and Year: MFA Candidate in Studio Art | Second Year
Hometown: Waupaca, Wisconsin
MCAE PieceAllen, bricks, wood, found objects, clay, glaze and acrylic

Baszynski taught high school ceramics for seven years and loved making and teaching art. She is now pursuing an MFA to become a stronger artist and applicant for future academic positions and exhibition opportunities.

“It’s very exciting to be able to show my work alongside other emerging artists,” Baszynski said about the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition.

A brick and wood sculpture of tables
Laura Baszynski’s work

Laurén Brady

Major and Year: MFA Candidate in Studio Art | First Year
Hometown: Marion, Indiana
MCAE Piecetransfiguration, photo-transfer, oil, spray paint and pastel on board

Brady believes in the capabilities and necessity of visual expression to communicate new ways of seeing, understanding, and interacting with others. In the future, she would like to be a professor of art and hopes to inspire future artists to see beauty in the everyday occurrences and to teach the methods to create meaningful and impactful work that enlightens and draws people together.

A painting with white, black, red, and blue colors
Laurén Brady’s work

Matias Brimmer

Major and Year: Studio Art with a Painting concentration | Junior
Hometown: East Lansing, Michigan
MCAE Pieces: Study of a Head (Homme) and Study of a Head (Femme)

Brimmer has always loved drawing, and has been seriously committed to the study of the visual arts since high school. His works, presented in the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition, speak to the themes of time and mortality, presenting an existentialistic dramatization of our human struggle (and certain failure) against our own inevitable conclusion.

“Though grim in subject matter, the works try to valorize and even glorify our humanity by its fleeting nature,” said Brimmer, adding that “the act of creation is the only thing that gives life meaning to me, which is why – no matter how frustrating it seems – I always return to painting.”

A painting of a face
Matias Brimmer’s work

Hannah Connell

Major and Year: Art Education | Senior
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
MCAE Pieces: Untitled 1Untitled 2Welcome to My Home

Connell is an Art Education major with a painting focus. Through her work, she tries to find the fine line between the cute, the tacky, and the fine art.

“I am obsessed with my own obsession. The way pattern and repetition come naturally from my hand through mindless obsessive mark making. But pattern can also be the tacky, the cheesy, the cute,” Connell said. “I am looking to take the issue of the crafty art in today’s society and find the fine line between fine art and decorative art. I want to create work that can look decorative but also sophisticated, tacky, and ugly but also satisfying and integrating.

“I want my work to push the crafty and the tacky to be more and have actual meaning. By doing this, I feel that my work is bringing attention to what art is in today’s contemporary society and how it needs to be changed.”

A painting with multiple, bright colors
Hannah Connell’s work

Anne Darrah

Major and Year: Studio Art with a concentration in Painting | Junior
Hometown: Cassopolis, Michigan
MCAE PiecesCledus the Longhorn and Bonnie, both graphite pencil

Darrah heard about MCAE from her advisor in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, Britta Urness, and struggled with whether to enter or not. With encouragement from her husband, Darrah entered her pieces and was selected. She hopes to either teach art in the future or continue creating pieces for commission work.

“Art is my passion,” she said. “My way of escape from reality, to let my mind run free, and pour my heart out on paper.”

A drawing of a cow with large horns
Anne Darrah’s work

Christy Hans

Major and Year: Studio Art | Junior
Hometown: Lansing, Michigan
MCAE Piece: Stigma

Hans has spent more than 20 years practicing many forms of art but is most passionate about ceramics. 

“In my work, I attempt to capture the simple, graceful forms of nature,” she said. “I am inspired by oriental watercolors and traditional Chinese ceramics. I love the beautify of simplicity and the elegance of pure form.”

Hans added that “it’s an honor to be included in a show with so many talented artists” and credits her time at MSU as being transformative.

“I have truly blossomed at MSU,” she said. “I have found not just knowledge, but support and inspiration from my professors and I have been energized by my classmates. Being here has made me feel like I can achieve.”

A sculpture
Christy Hans’ work

Chelsea Markuson

Major and Year: MFA Candidate in Studio Art | First Year
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
MCAE Pieces: Jerusalem Imprisoned

Markuson would like to teach art courses at the college level to inspire future generations, and is excited about the opportunity to be featured among other young artists. She is most interested to be among a wide array of visual works by artists from Michigan and see the similarities and differences to her own works and that of her peers at MSU.

“Studio art allows me to be a conduit of sorts to important contemporary issues like gender identity, race, spirituality and politics,” Markuson said.

A painting in black and white
Chelsea Markuson’s work

Dylan Milkins

Major and Year: Studio Art | Senior
Hometown: Gross Ile, Michigan
MCAE PieceChivalrous, bronze casting

Milkins, a fifth year senior, is a sculptor and photographer. His piece in the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition, titled Chivalrous, is a bronze casting that was casted in two parts then welded and patinaed.

“Is there still respect for the chivalrous? Maybe it has always been lost but this piece is the embodiment of a moment,” Milkins said. “A moment in time you could say, of our past or possibly our dreams where respect is eternal.”

A sculpture
Dylan Milkins’ work

Hedy Yang

Major and Year: Studio Art | Junior
Hometown: Novi, Michigan
MCAE Pieces: Bubble Glazed Flared Bottleneck Vase, Bubble Glazed Flower Vase, and Bubble Glazed Teardrop Vase

Yang has been doing ceramics for about five years. She is passionate about pottery and draws her inspiration for her work from her love for nature. Her work is meant to mimic the qualities of marble and wood. The glaze she uses is mixed with soap and applied to create distinct lines and swirls that replicate the veining in marble. 

“It’s a huge honor to have all of the pieces I entered be selected to be in the show,” Yang said, “and it’s strong encouragement for me to continue my passion!” 

A vase with marble and purple color
Hedy Yang’s work