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29th Annual University Student Exhibition

May 19, 2018 - August 12, 2018



Sophia Baldwin – Florida State University

Colt Bass – University of Central Florida

Tabatha Gonzalez – University of Florida

Velma McDermott – Florida International University

Juror: Dana Hoey

Exhibition Dates: May 19 – August 11, 2018

Atlantic Center for the Arts Pabst Visitor Center & Gallery
1414 Art Center Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 10AM – 4 PM, Saturday 10 AM – 2 PM

Free and open to the public

Click here to read exhibition review by Monique Satterfield of Bethune-Cookman University

Through the annual University Student Exhibition, Atlantic Center for the Arts honors the outstanding work being produced by state university art students, and recognizes their dedication to the pursuit of excellence.

The selection process for this exhibition begins with individual art departments. Department chairs are asked to nominate up to three full-time, degree-seeking students, in any medium or style. The quality of work submitted in years past indicates that the departments provide the intellectual and creative direction necessary for students to push their limits; resulting in work that is unique in its singleness of vision. By identifying and promoting these emerging artist, Atlantic Center hopes to focus statewide attention on the high level of creative and experimental work being produced at the college level throughout Florida’s state university system.

Juror’s Statement

It was my privilege to jury the annual art student show at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.  There were many excellent nominees, but the four young artists that I picked stood out for their commitment to craft, presence (and absence) and communication.  They all work in different media, and of course their main concerns are varied, but the connective tissue between them is a stubborn sensitivity and optimism.  Velma McDermott, Muskogee Creek Nation member, shoots light-filled, elegant images of the traces of indigenous presence in the modern world.  She uses a modern technology to assert an ongoing, pre-technical presence in the most beautiful way possible; she communicates her love for her people through light.   Sam “Colt” Bass is interested in what you might call a technology of the settler (as well as indigenous people before them), which is the animal trap used by hunters.  He warmly suggests that the sculpture may act in a similar way towards the viewer and considers the power relation of a trap in an expanded, delicate way.  Sophia Baldwin is invested in shared experience through technology, but unlike what you might expect from a younger person (that sharing would occur through social media), her sculptures invite live participation in light and sound.  Finally, Tabitha Gonzalez uses paint to describe the diasporic experience of a Puerto Rican in Florida; she references Taino, Catholic and Voodoo actions, yet the urge to connect over time and space (to your mom at home, a friend, or a place), is a vivid contemporary global experience at a time when many people are displaced.  Even as all this work invokes loss, it also gives me hope.  The love and care each artist puts into their work forges new connections, with us.

About the Juror, Dana Hoey

Dana Hoey is an American photographer based in the Hudson Valley, New York. She received a B.A. in philosophy from Wesleyan University and an M.F.A. in photography from the Yale University School of Art. She has exhibited and taught since 1996. Hoey was professor at Columbia School of Art from 2001 to 2007, and currently is visiting artist at The Cooper Union, NYC and Bard College MFA program.

Hoey’s work examines contemporary female identity through staged and directed photographs and videos. The persistent questions in her work regard representation, beauty and the possibility of political art. Three books are available on her work, The Phantom Sex with essay by Johanna Burton, Experiments in Primitive Living, with essay by Maurice Berger, and Profane Waste in collaboration with the writer Gretchen Rubin.

She has presented solo museum exhibits at the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, and The University Art Museum at the University at Albany, NY. Her most recent exhibit was  at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit.

Her work is held in various public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, CA; Middlebury College Museum of Art, VT; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; Princeton University Art Museum, NJ; The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Winter Park, FL; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA. Hoey is represented by Petzel Gallery, NY.

ACA Statement

ACA’s annual University Student Exhibition honors the outstanding work being produced by Florida’s state university art students. The selection process for this exhibition begins from within Florida’s nine major state university art departments. Each art department is asked  to nominate up to three full-time, undergraduate, degree-seeking students, working in any medium or style. By identifying and promoting these emerging artists, ACA hopes to focus statewide attention on the high level of creative and experimental work being produced at the college level.

The Artists:

Sophia Baldwin – Florida State University
My work focuses on placemaking and interactive experiences. I am fascinated by the anatomy of real and invented creatures, locations, and happenings, specifically their structure, dynamics, and locomotion. I like to concentrate on forms we observe or imagine and how their function can be understood from underlying compositions. Through this, my interests have developed into referencing existent and non-existent worlds through sensory observations. One way I allude to something so arbitrary is by referencing movement, or even a memory of something that may have once moved. This can be revealed in participation with the piece, or the processes that shape it. I feel “stationary momentum” can be as engaging as a sculpture capable of genuine motion like rotating lights in the piece I made titled Portal.
Currently I am creating more interactive pieces of art. Through this I am ideally creating a more immersive experience with the art, as well as more convincing fantastical situations like in the Soft Storm installation I made where the viewer had to take off their shoes and socks and literally immerse their feet in 6 inches of water to participate with the sounds of thunder.
My studio practice is process based because my process is in most cases more valuable than the final product. My work is inspired by material manipulations and happy accidents. I like to work across many mediums and try to do something I have never done in each attempt. Whether in the process I learn to use a new tool, or master a technique, or even learn something about myself, these things add up and influence the subsequent directions I choose to go in. Since I try to use as many mediums as I can, there are times I will change direction in what I am attempting to convey but end up using my original planned technique on a different object and find it successful. Often in the midst of altering or combining materials, I discover some aspect that is even more interesting than what I originally set out to do.

Colt Bass – University of Central Florida
My work explores the relationship between animals and those who hunt them. Hunting and trapping was a way of survival and trade in previous cultures, today it is done for money and sport. Growing up in rural areas of Florida the traditions of hunting and trapping were passed down to me through family and friends. I am utilizing traps, decoys, animal skins, and myself to obtain a better understanding of what is gained from hunting animals faced with such overwhelming disadvantages.
This work looks to understanding what lures something in, drawing it in long enough to become unaware of what is around. Exploring these ideas by altering the position of power and vulnerability using the items we have created to make these animals weak. The vulnerability is bestowed upon the viewer for the moments the pieces are being viewed, and power given to the artist.

Tabatha Gonzalez – University of Florida
Tabatha Gonzalez was raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico & Port Orange, Florida. She is an undergraduate student at the School of Art and Art history at the University of Florida. She will be getting her degree in Studio Arts with a concentration in painting this Spring. Tabatha’s work looks back into offerings and rituals practiced in Taino culture as well as Santeria, Voodoo and the Catholic church. The process of painting these actions is in response to the current political climate. It acts as an attempt to connect or find spirituality through accessible actions, while simultaneously forcing the paradox of prayer by objectifying the disconnection. Concerned with the relationship from one human to the other, the rules, parameters, distinctions that make us interesting, how conformity creates comfort and later complications, finally identifying the source and the process that creates false identities. The mix of aboriginal styles and ceremonial imagery with modern day experiences acts as an “active” attempt to create hope and stability in an unstable world.

Velma McDermott – Florida International University
I don’t remember being taught the history of the American Indian/Native American by my parents or Grandma, only how we lived as people. We had a different lifestyle; yet conformed to modern society — a society where the history of American Indian tribes is often overlooked and overshadowed by other historical events that people question our existence today. Through photography I address what remains of a life I know; and see the subtle signs and symbols that acknowledge the indigenous people.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Ed and Jeanie Harris.

Atlantic Center For The Arts, 1414 Art Center Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168.

Hours: TU-F 10-4, SAT 10-2, 386.427.6975 www.atlanticcenterforthearts.org



May 19, 2018
August 12, 2018
Event Category:


Ivan Riascos, Residency Director
ACA Main Campus: 386-427-6975


ACA Pabst Visitor Center & Gallery
1414 Art Center Ave
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 United States
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(386) 427-6975