Looking at the world in a different way lets Olivia Themudo see even a pile of plastic bottles on the ground as something beautiful.
The photography senior, along with 43 other graduating fine arts students, is displaying some of her work in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition, which opened Monday and will continue through May 14.
An opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday in The Gallery at UTA, said Benito Huerta , director and curator of the gallery as well as art professor.
The student exhibition occurs twice a year, with one held at the end of the fall semester and the other being held in the spring, said Huerta.
Typically, the gallery displays works by professional artists, but this is one of the few times students’ work is at the forefront, Huerta said.
Themudo grew up with an artistic background, she said. Through her photography, she found she was able to capture aspects of the world she saw differently, such as the beauty of trash on the ground illuminated by neon lights.
At the gallery, Themudo is displaying 24 self-portraits, which are all photos of herself portraying a different character in a different period of time, she said.
It’s a series Themudo began back in 2013, she said, inspired by her issues with social anxiety when she was younger.
“I’m able to express myself and become this character by still being me, just being comfortable shooting and sharing it with other people,” Themudo said.
Photography senior Alex Kang’s display is five plastic containers filled with shredded paper of a similar colors. The piece serves as a commentary on the social construction of race, Kang said, and how people of similar tones can be boxed into categories.
As a Korean-American, Kang said she spent time in her undergraduate contemplating on her identity and how to define it.
Photography as a medium is gratifying in that it allows a level of expression and control for the artist, Kang said. Kang’s grateful for the professors that offered guidance and served as her mentors similar, to the role of parents during her time at the university, she said.
Themudo’s time at the university has been enlightening, she said, and a time of self-discovery.
“I enjoy seeing the variety of ideas and mediums and techniques the artists use to create their work,” Huerta said. “To see how this work in a sense gives us a representation of their time here at UTA.”