Tomorrow’s art community, hard at work today, PART 2

This series by Lisa Rubenson highlights the work of graduating seniors and other advanced-level visual art students from Charlotte-area colleges and universities.

One of our favorite things to do at HappeningsCLT is introduce you to visual artists. The artists we tend to feature use a range of media to challenge assumptions, evoke emotion, and move us beyond the limits of aesthetics or imagination. Some are well established in their careers. Others are emerging artists, at the threshold of artistic inquiry. Throughout the next month, you’ll meet some of the many talented art students at area colleges. In learning about them, we hope you’ll agree that the future of art is in creative, highly skilled hands.————————— 


We continue our series featuring selected works of graduating seniors and other advanced-level visual art students from Charlotte-area colleges and universities. To learn more about Winthrop University, visit part one in the series.

Davidson College, Department of Art & Art History
Nina Eugenia Serebrennikov, Chair

Click here to learn more about the Davidson College Art Department.
Learn more about the Van Every/Smith Galleries and see the archive of recent student exhibitions.

Featured students:

John Chavez
Wilmington, NC (born in the Philippines)

John Chavez profile photo.jpg

Thesis: “The Reliquary”

Future plans: “Working as a graphic designer, then pursuing an MFA”

“I unearth toys, games, and objects from childhood and inspect them for cracks and blemishes. Through a reduced vocabulary, I (re)create artifacts [in an attempt to] complicate notions of gender, sexuality, race, and spirituality. [Moving away from] dichotomies, [I seek to] offer instead a fluid dynamic between … masculinity/femininity, pain/pleasure, and novelty/antiquity. By softening and subverting hard materials like steel, bronze, and wood, I arrive at queer artifacts that are at times humorous, sinister, and/or frustrating.”

John Chavez art.jpg

Melissa Chervin
Bedford, NY
Collage Paintings

Melissa Chervin  profile photo.jpg

Thesis: “(uncombed)”

Future plans: Graduate school

[This series of collages reflect] the movements of my mother’s brush [as she attempted] to tame my tangle of Puerto Rican and Jewish curls. The strokes would change according to the state of my already unrestrained hair. After a night of restless sleep, [she’d attempt to] calm the frays that stuck out from the top of my head. After a day at the beach, my hair was [damp] from the ocean and thickened by the sand – inspiring deeper and stronger strokes… The more forcefully she brushed, the wilder and less controlled it became. There came a point where she put down the brush, realizing my hair was better off uncombed.”  

Melissa Chervin art


Jean Paul Garcia
Studio Art Major, Digital Studies Minor
Huntington Park, California


Thesis: “por.LA.noche”

“I hid behind the screen door as speeding cars with booming sound systems meant either a drive-by shooting or street racing. In my process, resurrecting fears for the sole purpose of confrontation resulted in moments of tranquility and understanding of an otherwise toxic environment. My work is heavily influenced by my upbringing in Huntington Park, the southeastern region of Los Angeles. Large factory walls that bordered the railroad provided a surface for tagging as the gang culture became rampant during the early 2000s. I remember attempting to read the various murals whenever we slowed down to drive through the train tracks. When I passed by these locations it became a puzzle game of sorts in that the pieces were susceptible to being deleted and replaced. In the night time, the graffiti murals served as a backdrop for the glow of neighboring factories and warehouses. Their spirit like quality along those walls foreshadowed their eventual vanishing.”



Boluwatife (Tife) Odumosu
Mathematics Major, Studio Art Major


Thesis: “Necklaces”

“Necklaces resides at the borderline of culture shock, when differing belief systems and sacred ideologies are put in the same room with one another to engage in conversation and catastrophic collision. My drawings embalm figures in suits of black and white, the colors used to pave pathways and boundaries that surrounded my boarding school – [symbolizing the] discipline and confinement [I felt for] six of my most formative years. …  Necklaces … is a visual manifestation of my battle to find an identity for myself, rather than have one imposed on me by others. Inescapably, it is an attempt to find comfort, security, and power in my blackness, even under the gallows. It is the war within and without … an exploration of boundary lines forbidden to intersect….”



Cassidy Schultz
Denver, CO
Installations, Painting

Cassidy Schultz profile photo

Thesis: “Into the Liminal”

Future plans:  “moving to the Netherlands, working in the museums there eventually”

“I draw inspiration from my own photographs, using them to examine my sense of belonging or uncertainty, and the awareness of myself in a new space. I work with architectural images, three-dimensional constructions, that are subverted as two-dimensional silhouettes. The silhouettes, made of hand-cut tar paper, deny the construction of a building. They serve the architectural function of defining a space, dictating movement, but cannot be truly inhabited. Neither entirely flat nor sculptural, the pieces themselves occupy this liminal space of possibility.”

Cassidy Schultz art (1) 

by Lisa Rubenson, writer, art-lover and contributor to HappeningsCLT.

Stay tuned for updates from other academic programs in the area!

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