Friends and artists have last student show together

Thursday, May 1, 2008

For a collection they worked a year to make, Rochelle Steffen and Nathan Pierce couldn't settle with only displaying one piece in their Senior BFA shows. The artists and friends decided to take over the Untitled Gallery for their final performance as students.

Steffen has 13 pieces of mixed media photography, and Pierce has 13 sculptures to show.

"It's kind of hard to get someone to come and be interested in your work when you're around 15 other artists," Pierce said. Besides, neither of them wanted to chose just one piece to show.

They had seen a combination show before and liked the selection it offered visitors.

"It works out because he's 3-D, and I'm on the wall," Steffen said. Her prints lay against the walls of the gallery while Pierce dragged pedestals around the room setting up for his art Monday.

The two graduating seniors met the first semester at Southeast Missouri State University and have been in classes and working together ever since.

"We've spent a lot of out-of-class time together, so we have a relationship," Pierce said.

Their work contrasts but also complements the other's. Pierce's earthy sculptures reflect the river and nature, while Steffen's images of abandoned buildings show man-made structures.

The sculptures use metal, but play up natural wood and earth tones, Pierce said.

"She's thrown in these really bright, vibrant colors."

The Untitled Gallery has hosted students from Southeast since the fall, giving them a place to show their stuff, but it will close as a gallery after this show so the owners of the building can use the space for different purposes.

Pierce, who helped open and run the gallery with Tim Vollink, said they are looking for a different space to do the same thing.

But for May, he said the dual BFA show serves as "kind of a big 'Wow' before we close the doors."

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