Undergraduate Symposium showcases students’ work 

Whether it’s hanging in the halls of academic buildings or posted online for everyone to see, there are many opportunities for students to showcase their work on campus. 

One of the best is through the Undergraduate Research Center. 

The center supports students and faculty in developing mentoring bonds that allow students to engage in scholarly, artistic and research-related activities. As a result, it fosters a lifetime love of learning, opens doors to fresh perspectives and ignites creativity.  

The center will host the Undergraduate Research Symposium, an all-day event starting today. Students from various fields present and discuss their research with other students and faculty across campus. The day’s events will include poster and oral presentations, panels and a keynote address. There will be an art exhibition that will showcase two students’ work. 

The CSU art gallery will have artwork from students as well. The showcase runs through May 4 in the art gallery on the CSU’s lower level, next to Chick-fil-A. 

Andrew Schmidt is one of the students whose art will hang on the gallery walls. He got his inspiration from the Russia and Ukraine war. He said his work is usually not so serious, so this was a change from what he’s used to working on. He was seeing the missile attacks. It sent him down an internet rabbit hole of thinking about it all and finding pictures of stuff and people around the world and active conflict zones

“I wanted to do this series of paintings of people in these conflict zones, and each one of these paintings is about four feet tall right now. I think it’s kind of this documentation of these people, and there’s no context around it. So it’s like, ‘Who are these people?’ ‘What are the stories? ‘What’s going on with them?’” said Schmidt. “They’re all based off these pictures of people that have gone on social media, and these conflict zones, or what we assumed to be these conflict zones.” 

Despite his inspiration being Russia and Ukraine, he moved his focus away from it. 

“I kind of expanded away from the whole Russian invasion. It has West Africa, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There are two people from Ukraine in it, but the reason I chose it isn’t backstory. It was one of the images I saw on Instagram,” said Schmidt. “It was a train station that had a missile attack that happened. There was a picture of a dead kid sitting on a park bench. I was just looking at him like, ‘that’s absolutely wild.’That kind of spurred the whole thought process behind it, and that was just more the instigating idea behind it.” 

Jonathan Mor’s art is a little bit different than Schmidt’s. His focus is on self-love and intersections of identity, which is the name of his exhibition. 

“I’ve interviewed artists locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, just to learn about who they are, what drives them as artists, and how their identity impacts the work they create,” said Mor. “These are digital prints mounted on foam core and then cut from them. So they’re kind of these interesting little like, blobby figures cut out of foam core, and they will be hanging from the ceiling and various positions. It’s an exhibit space to walk through, with some interactive parts.” 

The 70s inspires Mor’s artwork, and students can see that in his work. 

“I am a huge FlowerPower guy, but I also have a lot of inspiration from Keith Haring. You can see that in my work as well. It’s pretty influential to me not only style-wise because I really liked his graphic style, but just the work he did as an activist and an advocate when he was alive is very touching to me,” said Mor. “I would say this is an exhibit for which you will want to be in the space. You want to be able to go and explore these characters and explore these figures. So I hope everyone can participate in the interactive section, just because I think it will make it very interesting for the exhibit overall.” 

Students can see both Mor and Schmidt’s artwork until May 4. The reception for this gallery is today from 6-8 p.m. 

Header Photo: The CSU Gallery exhibits two undergraduate students’ showcases open from Wednesday, April 19 through Thursday, May 4. (Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Lauren Viska at lauren.viska@mnsu.edu

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