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Finding an inpirational mecca in UT's Senior Exhibition: An interview with Carley McCaw

Finding an inpirational mecca in UT's Senior Exhibition: An interview with Carley McCaw

Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_2
2012 UT Senior Art Exhibition  Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_3
Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_5
Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_4
Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_6
Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_1
Photo by Rachel Ngun
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_2
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_3
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_5
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_4
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_6
Austin Photo Set: News_Rachel Ngun_UT senior art show_march 2012_1

This past Friday, the Visual Arts Center of UT held an opening reception of four very exhilarating exhibition for the graduating students of the fine arts school. The four exhibition features were Traditional Family Values, Finale, It Depends (see context) and Make_Matter. Four of the exhibition was held all at once at the VAC gallery, but the limit of space did not hold back at all the expressive and explosive works created by the students.

The rich variety of works exposed in the exhibition could be partly due to the different fields of which the participants are coming from; the contributors range from the Studio Art Department, Visual Art Studies and Design divisions of UT.

 Every item, either a painting hung on the wall or an interactive animation, exhibits such a uniquely separate feel.

Throughout the exhibits, the individuality within each piece was strikingly present. Every item, either a painting hung on the wall or an interactive animation, exhibits such a uniquely separate feel. This characteristic allows the exhibition as whole to be invigorating; there was never a moment where I was not grasped by the pieces in front of me. 

One of the most eye-catching pieces present was a sculptural piece by the name “Hang Tight.” This one-of-a-kind plywood sculpture belongs to the Finale Exhibition, which features works by Studio Art and Visual Art Studies majors that were handpicked and nominated by faculty members.

I had an honor of interviewing the talented artist behind the work, Carley E. McCaw, a graduating senior of the studio art division. McCaw graciously took time out of her hectic schedule to answer some of my questions:

What inspired you to create this piece?

This past summer I spent a month in India. It was both the most difficult and the most beautiful experience I have ever had. When I got back to the States I was so incredibly inspired. I felt a surge of motivation and so rejuvenated. I had had the idea for the project for a while but it wasn't until I got back from India that I finally felt the fire under my bum to JUST DO IT.

 "In receiving my undergraduate training in Austin, I think there is definitely a parallel between the studio program and the city."

Is there a reason you picked the medium you used?

Like India, I wanted to work with a medium that would challenge me as well as offer the potential for beauty. I liked plywood because I felt it's linear patterning lent it's self nicely to modeling the stalactite forms I was observing. Plywood offered this, and also spoke to an even deeper interest I have in using man-manipulated materials

As an artist what is the most important part of creating art? Or what motivates you to do art?

I think process is the most invaluable aspect of creating art. In process, you grow as an individual. For me it's not about the end product; it's about the journey. Looking at the work I have produced these past four years is like looking at my diary. Semesters I was depressed or spread too thin, beyond elated or fallen in love, I can track these emotions. If nothing else, at the end of the day, I needed to major in art for myself. And now, I'll forever continue to make art to continue finding the answers. 

As a graduating senior, what is the most valuable lesson that you've obtained from your time here in the art school?

Your biggest failures are your biggest successes and in turn, you cannot succeed without failure. I think if nothing else, I walk away from my time here with confidence knowing who I am and taking ownership for everything I do and say. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, own it, rock it, and if nothing else, learn from it. 

 "Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, own it, rock it, and if nothing else, learn from it." 

Do you think living in Austin affected your creative lens? Or the way you do art?

Absolutely. I think Austin has a really neat art scene that is very unique and reflective of [the city]. In receiving my undergraduate training in Austin, I think there is definitely a parallel between the studio program and the city. The program supports a fast-track training towards production and, ultimately, being a professional artist. I for one cannot picture my training any other way.

Through the process of making art I found myself and for that I am so incredibly thankful to the university. I'll never be able to look at art the same, that's for sure!

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McCaw is just one out of the many talented artists graduating out of UT’s fine arts school. The exhibition provides a glimpse to the creative force cultivated in The University of Texas at Austin. There’s no doubt that everyone and anyone who is interested in the arts need to pay a visit to the VAC. The richness in the variety of the works present in the gallery is guaranteed to leave the viewers inspired and intrigued.

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