April 2021


Ruby Henrickson

 BFA W2021

Artist Statement

Broad investigations about the human-nature relationship inform the content of my artwork. I consider the hyper-capitalistic, post-internet age in which I was raised to be a regular underlying subject in my work and an influence on my perspective. It is my intention to ask questions with my paintings, not to attempt an answer. This is a value I bring to my practice so that I may operate in a way that is open to change and learning. The body of work presented in By Way of Fire continues this line of inquiry, but with recognition of a rapidly changing collective experience induced by the pandemic.


In these recent paintings I consider the many sources of fear pervading the world and the threat of a virus reminding humanity of its interconnection. I reference the visual data of magnetic fields to communicate this interconnection, as electromagnetism is one of the four known forces of nature: our physical existence on earth is defined by and depends on it. Investigating these essential and unseen forces, I am able to step back from the heat of this time and become grounded in universal truths.  


I am open to the ambiguity of the magnetic field forms, embracing their visual similarity to black holes, supernovas, mitosis, and heat convection. Malleability in interpretation was an important consideration to me, because it allows for various degrees of interaction and analysis. I look up at a flock of birds and envy their agency. March’s full moon reveals new growth after a gray winter. Pathogens need me, and they need the maple leaves, too. Shape and light inform my surroundings. Fire will always warm me. 


Gavin Weir

 BFA W2021

Artist Statement

I am interested in creating broken-down fictional worlds that comment on the shared experiences of all life. In my paintings, drawings, and sculptures I present dramatic scenes that address natural relationships and impending doom. The goal of my work, regardless of medium, is to create an experience for the viewer that stays with them beyond the gallery, leaving them with both revelations and questions about our relationships with each other and the natural world as well as the existential threats that we face.


I work with a broad array of mediums and explore many methods of making. I am interested in the relationship that exists between my 2-D and 3-D work, and how various areas of my practice influence each other. It is important to me as an artist to create a believable world for people to enjoy and lose themselves in. I often develop every element of this world by creating props, taking reference photos, and inventing backstories and meaning to better inform my work and create a believable fiction.

This recent body of work is a series of slow repeating dramas that uses symbolism and pattern to create a loose sense of narrative. The work uses symbolism to confront ideas of good and evil, ambiguity, and duality. I often present the relationship between good and evil as tense, obscure, and undefined. This tension is present all around us, and even within us demanding a closer look. The figures are depicted cloaked with colorful fabrics that sometimes obscure the figures’ face to create a sense of ambiguity and unknowing. My work contrasts ideas of good and evil, animate and inanimate, and knowing and unknowing as a means of creating a world that is both beautiful and horrible.